Treasures of Colombia: Sancocho de Gallina (Colombian Street Food)

The Sancocho is a traditional weekend meal, just like our Jamaican traditional weekend pumpkin soup; no matter the country, this soup is well loved by both nations.

I can vividly remember growing up as a child and smelling the sweet aroma of the traditional pumpkin or chicken foot soup on a Saturday afternoon as it wafted through the yard.

On Saturdays, my mother would go to the Coronation market in Jamaica, very early, to buy fresh produce to make this famous traditional soup.

treasures of colombia with stacey ann smith

Treasures of Colombia: Sancocho de Gallina (Colombian Street Food)


Sancocho de gallina is akin to the Jamaican Pumpkin Soup.

When I arrived here in Colombia my friends kept telling me that they had a very unique dish for me to try and that its name is Sancocho. Hence, when they invited me one day to an outdoor event where the Sancocho was been prepared I realized that it bore a striking resemblance to our beloved traditional soup.

I then told them that the Sancocho was not unique because we have a similar version in Jamaica.

The difference between the Sancocho and our Jamaican pumpkin soup is that the Sancocho does not contain pumpkin to give it that rich orange color. Also, it does not have that delicious fiery hot flavor given off by our powerful scotch bonnet pepper.

Additionally, Sancocho is not Sancocho without Cassava (Yucca) – thus giving it that white color.


The other ingredients as mentioned before are similar to ours. These include :

  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Plantain
  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Beef
  • Hen (gallina) or Fish
  • Salt
  • Maggi cubes

The other spices include Cilantro (Coriander), Pimienta Molida (grounded pepper) to name a few.

The Sancocho is not only eaten on Saturdays but restaurants make a pretty penny on Sundays also because Colombians do not cook on Sundays; they eat out, and the Sancocho is a part of the main dish.

Furthermore, it is the principal dish that is eaten on New Year’s Day.

So maybe one Saturday you can try the Colombian Sancocho and drop me a line, to let me know if you liked it or not.


About the writer: 

Stacey Ann Smith is from Kingston, Jamaica.  She is an alumna of Camperdown High School and she graduated from The Shortwood Teachers’ College having earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Modern Languages, Spanish and French. Presently, Stacey is an English teacher at a University in Colombia.  She describes herself as a vivacious and loving person who also has a passion for traveling, taking pictures, her son Nicholas and Ashley, her adorable feline.

Copyright © 2019, Denise N. Fyffe, The Island Journal.


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