Colombian Cuisine: Bandeja Paisa

bandeja paisa

One cannot visit Medellin or any part of Antioquia without trying the “Bandeja Paisa“. Unless you are vegetarian…

The Bandeja Paisa is a typical dish from Antioquia and Paisa regions of Colombia that consist of a generous helping of meat and carbs. Here’s what a typical Bandeja Paisa looks like:

bandeja paisa

Usually an order of Bandeja Paisa comes with:

  • Arroz – white rice
  • Frijoles – red beans
  • Arepa – a little pancake made from corn flour
  • Huevo frito – fried egg (huevo – egg, frito – fried)
  • Aguacate – avocado
  • Chorizo – sausage
  • Morcilla – blood sausage
  • Chicharron – fried pork belly
  • Carne molida – ground beef
  • Tajada – pan fried ripe plantain, or sometimes patacones or fried green plantain

There are a couple different stories regarding the origin of the dish. The simple one is just that it’s a typical “peasant” dish that farmers eat before going off for a day of work in the field. Another, a more interesting version, is there was a man who wanted to show off his wealth, so he went to the market and bought every thing from each food vendor, and ended up with this huge plate of food that is now called the Bandeja Paisa.

Many restaurants in Medellin offer Bandeja Paisa. There are also some traditional restaurants in the downtown area of Medellin that are known for their Bandeja Paisas, such as La Hacienda.

Here’s a video (in Spanish) introducing the Bandeja Paisa and how it is prepared.

Have you tried the Bandeja Paisa? What is your opinion on it?

Jenny Chen

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