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Popayan: Colombia's Gastronomic Destination

Updated: Jun 20

Recognized for its colonial architecture, its Holy Week and its ample gastronomy, it is called “The White City” of Colombia, however it is full of color, thanks to the diversity of its typical dishes that delight locals and visitors. In addition, since 2005, UNESCO declared Popayan as the first City of Gastronomy within the Creative Cities Network.


A visit to Popayán is an invitation to taste the typical empanadas and tamales de pipián and delight in the endless flavors that more than 600 traditional cooks in the city offer to diners in their kitchens.


Doña Alicia, a peasant woman and traditional cook of Popayán, has inspired and encouraged her daughters, granddaughters and great-granddaughters to safeguard the recipes of local cuisine and promote food sovereignty in their community through permaculture.

In her pipian workshop, you will learn how to prepare the delicious empanadas and tamales de pipian; a recipe that has survived for more than five generations and which was recognized as “Original and unique recipe of Tamal de Pipian” by the mayor of Popayan in the year 2021.

But what is pipian, we tell you here: Pipián is a mashed red potato with a dry texture and a reddish color, a typical preparation of the Andean region. For its preparation we need the following ingredients:


  • Red potato

  • Long onion

  • Peanut

  • Annatto

  • Salt

  • Garlic

  • Aged corn dough

  • Banana leaves

As an added bonus, you can find these wonderful women in the pavilion of traditional cuisines at the Popayán Gastronomic Congress that is held every year in Popayán and attracts thousands of national and international tourists.

In short, Popayán not only invites travelers to immerse themselves in its fascinating history and architecture, but also to savor tradition and innovation in every bite, making every meal a memorable and authentic experience.



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