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Bandeja paisa

Bandeja paisa from Churrasquito El Pibe in Cartagena, Colombia.

What: This high-calorie, high-protein gut buster of a breakfast consists of fried egg, white rice, chorizo, carne molida (ground meat), red beans, patacones (fried plantain), chicharrón (pork rind), and an arepa. Sometimes it is also accompanied by avocado and salad (making it marginally healthier, we presume). Born in the mountainous Paisa region of the northwest (Antioquia) as a filling midday meal for farm workers, bandeja paisa is now a very common dish found across Colombia and beyond. It’s simple, rustic peasant fare that still manages to inspire the palate.

Where: Many cafes and casual restaurants offer this. (Our pic is from an outdoor restaurant in Cartagena’s Bocagrande called Churrasquito El Pibe, at Calle 6 2-26).

Order: The “mini paisa” (8,900 COP), shown here, is actually a smaller version of the dish, believe it or not. Check if your restaurant makes it this way if you’re unsure about finishing the real deal.


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