Ask anyone what the signature dish of Medellin is and there’s a significant chance that they will answer Bandeja Paisa. This platter is not for the faint hearted. It includes a wide variety of foods, usually rice, beans, sausage, deep-fried pork rinds, ground meat, arepa, fried plantain, fried egg and a wedge of avocado.
Because it’s a heavy dish we would recommend pairing it with water or fresh juice. Colombia is famous for its fresh fruits and our favourite must be maracuya (passion fruit) juice. However, downing it all with a cold local beer ain’t bad either. Why not order an Águila Light beer with some freshly squeezed limejuice or an ice-cold Club Colombia to go with your bandeja?
But don’t limit yourself by only ordering bandeja paisa. Be adventurous and customise your bandeja to your liking. You can add chicken breast, fish or meat in any shape or form. However, some heavenly pairings just can’t be ignored. Try a bandeja con chicharrón, served with deep-fried pork rinds. Or maybe a bandeja con trucha, served with battered and pan-fried trout. Meat lovers should definitely order the bandeja con chorizo, served with the regional spicy sausage. Bandeja con róbalo or mojarra is also scrumptious. Mojarra is best described as a species of the tilapia and róbalo is the common snook. In Colombia the fish are deep-fried and served with the bandeja platter or with a side dish of your choice.
The great thing about Medellin is that, everywhere you turn you will be awestruck by the stunning views ánd there is probably a bandeja within your reach:
Try it at Santafé mall in El Poblado. Enjoy the stunning views while eating in the food court on the top floor. There are many food court restaurants to choose from, so just walk around and pick the one that smells best!
Order it at Hato Viejo, a local restaurant in Oviedo. We really loved the complementary tostados (fried green plantains) with guacamole.
Devour it at La Amistad after you work up a major appetite climbing all 740 steps up the Piedra Del Peñol in Guatapé. We would recommend the mojarra as the fish is caught fresh just around the corner.
Climb great heights to try it out at El Mesón de Gena in the Pueblita Paisa food court. The barbeque ribs are fantastic as well.
Endure public transportation (although the ride on the gondola lift is fun) to eat it at El Tambo in Parque Arví. Don’t forget to fuel up on fresh fruit and condensed milk as soon as you step off the gondola lift. The stalls in the little market at the entrance of the nature reserve sell the freshest of fruits. We loved the blueberries, raspberries and strawberries.