One of the joys of travel is discovering a country’s national and regional dishes. In the famously prideful Antioquia region of Colombia they have a regional food obsession called bandeja paisa.To call it huge is an understatement.
Bandeja Paisa comes with a long slice of chicharron (crispy fried pig skin, fat, and meat), porky beans, very dry shredded beef, chorizo, morcilla (blood sausage), a fried egg, fried plantains, white rice, a huge hunk of avacado, an arepa, and hogao sauce. Locals in Antioquia (who call themselves Paisas) keep asking us if you’ve tried bandeja paisa (Paisa Tray) yet, so the other day we broke down and sat down for some extreme eating in Medellin.
Upon the recommendation of Pablo, owner of Real City Tours, we headed for a Medellin restaurant called The Hacienda where older waiters in traditional clothes hustle around an open air space on the second floor of a building as traditional music plays. There’s a nice view from the patio over a pedestrian-only shopping street and the place manged to walk the fine line between “themed” and authentic. All the other diners were locals.
The menu at The Hacienda is huge and meat heavy but we were there for one thing: the bandeja paisa (US$15). We ordered one to share and it was as huge and tasty as reported. The meal is traditionally capped off with a shot of aguardiente but we were too full for that. Eric fell asleep as soon as we got back to our bed. We skipped dinner.
Would we eat bandeja paisa again? Probably not because we like our hearts. But we enjoyed it and we’re glad we tried it and now we can get all those place-proud Paisas off our backs.
Here’s more about travel in Colombia