Tuesday, 11 August 2009

The Best Bandeja Paisa – The Search Continues

Bandeja Paisa, is Antioquias typical dish. It’s a monster of a meal. It makes an all you can eat buffet look like its on a diet.
Unfortunately, I cannot eat a whole one now, so I have to go for the girlie option and have the kiddie portion. This still leaves me feeling like John Hurt in that dinner scene from Alien. It’s a dish where after eating it, and if you can finish it, you will need a good few hours of siesta time. It’s really suited for weekends or holidays, where you can sleep it off for a few hours.
The basic components of a Bandeja Paisa are rice, black pudding, chorizo, platano, fried egg, minced beef, potatoes, beans and chicharron. (Fried pig skin) and another piece of meat, and for the healthy part a small salad. In some places you will either get all of the above or at least 90% of it.
When I first came to Colombia over 10 years ago, I used to eat a whole portion of this, but as I have said, I can now only manage a mini portion. I think travelling in Asia too much has reduced my stomach greatly. Not a bad thing.
To say the portion sizes in Colombia are a little on the hefty side is an understatement. I know of many people who share a plate of food between two, and are stuffed afterwards.
I have eaten Bandeja Paisa in many places now, but the one I like the best is at Rancherito, a chain of restaurants that sells typical food of Antioquia. Lot’s of grilled meats, beans, chorizos. (The Colombia chorizo is quite unlike the Spanish version. It’s not spicy at all, and is very, very fatty.) morcilla, arepas etc etc. You can find them in most parts of Antioquia, but most of them are close to Medellin.
The quality of the food is always good, and it was normally the first place I would eat at after arriving into Colombia. After more than 12 hours travelling there is nothing like some good morcilla and chorizo to get you into the holiday mood.
For the real hardy people you can have calentado, which is a breakfast dish. But basically it is the Bandeja reheated for breakfast. After eating that, you’d have enough energy for anything for the day. A breakfast of champions.

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