Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Like Heroin: Bandeja Paisa

Before coming to Colombia, I only had a vague idea of what the food would be like. I had it once while in Barcelona last year but I really don't remember that meal too well. I guess at some level I expected a version of Mexican food. I don't know why, I just did.

Well, as a public service for my fellow Americans, Colombian food is generally a meat-and-potatoes affair, at least in the parts of the country that I've been to. Pretty much every meal has a protein like fish, chicken, or steak along with rice or potato or both. Instead of tortillas or bread, they serve arepas, which are a type of thick white-corn tortilla much like sopes in Mexico. You don't get beans very often and the food's not spicy. Don't get me wrong, the food is great but I hadn't really found that one "to-die-for" meal until...

Just like the state motto of California: Eureka, I have found it! My new Colombian-food addiction. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Bandeja Paisa:

The Bandeja Paisa is a traditional meal served in the Paisa region, which includes both Medellin and the coffee area. It gets its name from the large plate that it's served on, which is called a bandeja in Spanish. The "Paisa Plate" is, as you can see, fairly large and is generally made up of: white rice, beans, ground beef, chicharon (deep-fried pork rind), a pan-fried plantain (a not-very-sweet banana), a fried egg, chorizo (sausage), a slice of avocado, and an arepa. The ingredients are always the same but the flavor varies by location. This is another Bandeja Paisa I had in Bogotá recently:

I know that the Bandeja Paisa won't win any health-food awards but, damn, it's good and it makes me happy. It's a habit that I'm not interested in kicking!


  1. And I have no doubt that plate is empty when you leave! lol Perfect Darren portion size!

  2. I don't eat the rice and, other than that, it is the perfect size...for breakfast!

  3. So ask them to change the rice for more beans, or more chicharrón! :D

  4. LOL , one lucky dude in front of that delicoius food . :D


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