Everyone has their own idea about what makes a good empanada...

Tasty, tasty empanadas.

But Colombians got it right.

In the wild, you may encounter empanadas filled with meat, vegetables, cheese, fruit or seafood, and nearly any combination thereof.

While empanadas are most commonly associated with Argentinean or Chilean cuisine, almost every South American country has their own idea about what best makes an Empanada. Most of the empanadas bought from food stands or Hispanic pastry shops in the US will have a baked shell made of flour, egg, water and shortening or lard, and a filling of chicken, beef or pork.

Recipes more faithful to the original European idea of what an Empanada should be will usually include hard-boiled egg, olives, sardines or raisins. Most South American empanadas will base their filling on potatoes, though carrots and onions are popular, too.

Dessert empanadas are filled with fruit or fruit paste and mild cheese, guava being the most popular choice. These are usually baked.