Top 10 Colombian phrases to use when you eat in Spanish

There’s a saying in Spanish: “Barriga llena, corazón contento”, and it basically means: “full belly, happy heart”. I am pretty sure that you agree with me when I tell you that the happiest times of the day are when we eat, especially when we eat our favorite meals. There’s nothing better than being really hungry and getting to a place where there is that delicious and awesome dish you love. Now, Imagine that you are traveling and the time to eat in Spanish has come to you.

Spanish speakers have their own way to talk about food, it actually goes beyond the basics in Spanish.When you take Spanish lessons, or you study Spanish from the classic textbooks, most of the times you learn things like: “Tengo hambre” (I am hungry), “me gustan las papas” (I like potatoes), “quiero helado” (I want ice-cream) and so on.

These basic phrases are fine if you learn them correctly, and you will make yourself understandable when you travel to another country. For some people this is enough Spanish to learn, but if you are like me, you probably think that basic phrases are not enough, and your goal is to understand native speakers when they talk, and, why not? Imitate them.

As you know, I speak Colombian Spanish and that is why, today, I want to share some Colombian expressions and phrases to talk about food, they may make no sense in other parts of the world:

  • Tener un filo:Whenever you feel really hungry you just say to your Spanish speaking friends: “tengo un filo, Vamos a buscar comida”. They immediately will know that you are starving.
  • Estar que uno se parte del hambre:Basically, if you say this, you have reached your limit, and you are really starving, you need to eat something because you can’t be that hungry anymore, here’s an example of how you can use it:

“Tengo que comer algo porque estoy que me parto del hambre”.

  • Estar que se explota:Now, this phrase means that you ate a lot, and you feel like you are about to explode, here’s an example of how you can use it:

– ¿Quieres más pollo?

-No, ya estoy que me exploto, pero gracias.

  • Estar llenísimo:This is just a way of saying that you are really, really full. Here’s an example:

– ¿Quieres más sopa?

-No, gracias, estoy llenísimo.

  • La comida está para chuparse los dedos:If you say this, you mean that food was so delicious that you are about to lick your fingers to keep having that flavor in your mouth. Of course, you don’t want to do that in front of other people, you just say that to indicate food was really good, here is an example:

– ¿Te gustó la torta de chocolate?

-Sí, esta como para chuparse los dedos.

  • Querer un levanta muertos:When you go out to party and you get drunk, most of the times you feel terrible the next day. You probably look like a zombie, and no doubt that you feel like a zombie too. Well, a “levanta muertos” may be some juice, soup or anything that makes you feel better from that hangover. Here is an example:

-Y… ¿Cómo te sientes hoy?

-Necesito un levanta muertos.

  • Ir por unas polas:Saturday night, but you have nothing to do… Then it’s time to go out and get some cold ones. “Ir por unas polas”, basically means let’s go get some beers, there are little variations to this expression like, “ir por unas politas” or “ir por unas frias”. Here is an example:
    • Entonces… ¿qué vas a hacer hoy?
  • No sé, ¿vamos por unas politas?
  • No, me cabe más nada:Again, this is just another way of saying that you are really full, and you can’t eat anymore. For example:
  • ¿Quieres más arroz?
  • No, ya no me cabe más nada.
  • Tomar el algo:Colombians usually have more than three meals during the day, you take “el algo” in the afternoon. Right when you already digested the lunch, that’s the time to take “el algo”, which most of the times is a very light meal, like a couple of cookies with coffee or something. For example:
  • Son las 4:30pm, ¿Vamos a tomar el algo?
  • Ok, vamos.
  • Tomar la media mañana: This is another meal that Colombians take, and you have it right when you digested your breakfast, most of the times you have “la media mañana” at 10am or 10:30am. Here is an example:
  • Son las 10am, creo que es tiempo de tomar la media mañana.

For now, you should write down those ten expressions and phrases because they can come in handy for your next trip. Finally, I want to give you an awesome 2-minute tip to improve your Spanish, you will find this advice on an audio version. I recommend you listen to this tip many times until you fully understand everything (not just the message, but the words in Spanish), I also added a PDF file so you can follow the reading of what I say in the mp3 file. You can download this file on the following link:

Diego Cuadros is a blogger and a Spanish online teacher. He uses stories to help Spanish lovers understand fast-speaking native speakers, so they don't freeze and panic in conversations.

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