The Country Food Similarity Index is a statistically-based attempt to quantify how similar the food in one country is relative to another. By comparing the weight of raw food ingredients used in each country, a score is assigned that reflects the degree of similarity between the respective countries. The methodology is exactly the same for each country studied.
The Most Similar Cuisines to Colombian Food
Colombian food is influenced by a combination of indigenous, Spanish, and African cuisines. The five countries with the most similar food to Colombia are all located in South America. With the exception of Brazil, these nations all have Spanish as one of their official languages. In addition, the majority of the land in these countries has a tropical climate.
- Peru is to the south of Colombia. The Andes Mountains run through both countries. Potatoes and rice are the most commonly eaten starches in each nation, while chicken is the most popular meat. Ajiaco, a Colombian soup featuring potatoes and chicken, is similar to Peru’s Papa a la Huancaina. Furthermore, ceviche is popular in both countries, in part due to their extensive coastlines.
- Venezuela is another former Spanish colony on this list. Both countries border the Caribbean Sea. Empanadas are popular in both countries, featuring pastry pockets filled with various ingredients such as meats, cheeses, or beans. Arepas are widely consumed in Venezuela and Colombia as well. Both countries have their versions of arroz con pollo, a dish combining rice and chicken with various spices and seasonings.
- Brazil also borders Colombia. The Amazon Rainforest runs through large swathes of both countries. They share a love for vibrant and bold flavors. Rice and beans are staples in both cuisines, showcasing the influence of indigenous ingredients. Unique fruits, exotic fish, and find their way into their diet.
- Ecuador and Colombia border the Pacific Ocean. They share a passion for seafood. Ceviche, a dish where raw fish is marinated in citrus juices and spiced with chili peppers, is a favorite in both nations. In Ecuador, ceviche often includes plantain chips and popcorn, adding a delightful crunch to the dish.
- Bolivia is another South American country on this list. Both countries tend to eat a lot of potatoes and rice in their traditional cuisines. Chicken is the most commonly consumed meat in both countries. However, avocados are much more common in Colombian cuisine.
The Least Similar Cuisines to Colombian Food
The five countries with the least similar food to Colombia are located in either Africa or the Pacific Ocean. However, relatively few countries have a diet that is extremely different from Colombia’s, since it has influences from many different regions of the world.
- Chad is a predominately Muslim country that was once a French colony in Africa. Sorghum and millet are the two most commonly consumed grains in the country. These crops are well adapted to the Sahel’s harsh climate. Popular dishes include sesame soup and fried dough balls.
- South Sudan is another country that borders Sudan. Cassava is its staple food, however the country eats a lot of sorghum as well. Porridge is one of the most popular dishes in the country. In addition, South Sudanese cuisine features a variety of sauces and condiments made with peanuts and sesame seed, unlike Colombian cuisine.
- Micronesia is a group of tropical islands in the Pacific Ocean. As a result, their diet is heavily based on seafood. Furthermore, coconut is a bigger part of Micronesia’s cuisine than Colombia’s, despite both countries being located in tropical regions.
- Niger is a predominately Muslim country in Africa. It has an extremely hot and dry climate, so it is mostly desert. Its two most common staple foods are millet and sorghum. Some traditional dishes in Niger include tuwo, a porridge made from millet or sorghum, and dambunama.
- Solomon Islands is a Melanesian country located near Papua New Guinea. The country’s diet is much more reliant on sweet potato, yam, taro, and coconut than Colombia. However, fish from the ocean are popular sources of meat in both countries.
Colombia’s Most Common Food Ingredients
Protein: Chicken, Egg
Fruit: Banana, Pineapple
Vegetable: Avocado, Tomato
Starch: Potato, Rice
Primarily based on 2020 data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N.