Blonde Food Tip: Bandeja Paisa
Aw, an old favourite! I know, it’s a funny old meal, with such a mixture of different cuisines and so damned huge! There are some variations but really a bandeja paisa should contain red kidney beans cooked with pork, white rice, minced meat, chicharon, plantain, arepa, chorizo, black pudding, hogao, lemon, avocado and a fried egg. It’s basically a heart attack on a plate.
Wow… I know. The dish originated in Antioquia and across the coffee region where I’m guessing the workers need a big meal to keep their energy in the fields. The ‘Paisa tray’ really is famous in Colombia though and at one point it nearly became the official national dish.
What happened? Well, a few people (probably some stroppy Bogotanos, let’s face it) argued that it was too specific to one region to be considered the true national dish. But it’s become the unofficial national dish anyway – you are far more likely to see a bandeja paisa on a tourism poster or in a brochure than you are, say, an ajiaco or a sancocho.
Is it true you can buy a healthy version? Ha, yes, I’ve seen a Bogotá bandeja paisa which switches the pork and black pudding for grilled chicken and salad. No harm in trying eh?
The Bogotá Blonde