Colombian Fast Food Delicacies: The Picada

Food, Travel Tips — By Richard McColl on May 9, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Not for the fainthearted, the Picada is a delicacy best enjoyed drunk.

The picada – simply meaning “chopped” – is decadent, it’s Moorish, it’s unhealthy and if done well, it bests any other drunk comfort foods. So, as you would guess, it’s a platter, piled high with sliced morsels with beef, pork, chicken and chorizo. And to ensure that you get the full calorie hit, usually there are some patacones (sliced and fried plantain chips) chopped in addition to french-fries. And no, this glorious creation does not end here – I can feel the wrath that Anthony Bourdain would harbor towards such a creation – to top it all off, the chef (in the most liberal sense of the word) will have covered the top layer with streams of ketchup and mayonnaise and then delicately sprinkled some grated cheese…….enjoy.

There’s really not a great deal much more to add to this recipe than the aforementioned, but, should you find yourself in need of a platter of food once ejected from a drinking establishment, the picada is ideal and is preferably shared between a few.

Of course it’s not only for the inebriated. I have yet to encounter a better picada than the one served by the highway from Bogota to Santa Marta in the town of Aguachica, Cesar in a restaurant called La Brasa. If you find yourself driving through (obviously not drunk) you’ll not miss it, La Brasa is the only eatery in the area that is permanently full with its pitifully small car pack exceeding capacity at almost all times. What’s La Brasa’s secret? Well, a few establishments could learn from them. La Brasa uses top quality meats making this meal actually taste like a meal and not a Japanese quiz show challenge.

Tags: aguachica, colombian fast food, colombian food, picada, travel in bogota


  • Fiona says:

    Born and raised in Colombia (25yrs) and have never had a Picada with ketchup or grated cheese.

  • Richard McColl says:

    Clearly you have never eaten at La Brasa! I highly recommend it. Of course, all platters differ, some put sliced tomatoes and onions and no grated cheese. I prefer mine with cilantro on top.


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