|Place of origin||Colombia|
|Region or state||Paisa Region, Antioquia|
|Main ingredients||red beans, pork belly, white rice, ground meat, chicharon, fried egg, plantain (patacones), chorizo, arepa, hogao sauce, black pudding (morcilla), avocado and lemon|
|Variations||bandeja de arriero, bandeja montañera, or bandeja antioqueña|
|Cookbook: Bandeja paisa Media: Bandeja paisa|
Bandeja paisa, (Paisa refers to a person from the Paisa Region and bandeja is Spanish for platter) with variations known as bandeja de arriero, bandeja montañera, or bandeja antioqueña, is a typical meal popular in Colombian cuisine, especially of the Antioquia department and the Paisa Region, as well as with the Colombian Coffee-Growers Axis, (Caldas Department, Quindío, Risaralda) and part of Valle del Cauca.
The main characteristic of this dish is the generous amount and variety of food in a traditional bandeja paisa: red beans cooked with pork, white rice, carne molida (ground meat), chicharrón, fried egg, plantain (patacones), chorizo, arepa, hogao sauce, black pudding (morcilla), avocado and lemon.
The origin of the bandeja paisa was influenced by several different cultures that inhabited Colombia throughout the centuries, including the indigenous peoples of Colombia, as well as colonial Spaniards and Africans. In the 19th century, French and British colonialists also brought their cuisine with them.
The current form and presentation of the Paisa platter is relatively recent. There are no references in the food writing about this dish before 1950. It is probably an interpretation of the local restaurants of simpler peasant dishes. One of its most prominent features is the juxtaposition of native American and European ingredients, which is also observed in other mestizo dishes of Latin American cuisine, such as Venezuelan pabellón criollo or Costa Rican gallo pinto.
Presentation and variations
A Paisa platter is traditionally served in a large, oval-shaped tray due to the amount of food that is served. Side dishes include mazamorra (a maize-derived beverage similar to atole) with milk and ground panela.
There are several variants of the dish all over the country with deletion or addition of ingredients, which cannot be recognized as bandeja paisa in the strictest sense. Some Antioquian restaurants offer an "extended" bandeja paisa, also known as "seven meats platter", which contains, besides the aforementioned ingredients, grilled steak, grilled pork and liver. A diet- friendly version of the dish is very popular in Bogotá, which replaces pork with grilled chicken breast, black pudding with salad and chorizo with a wiener.
Colombian national dish
In 2005, the Colombian government planned to make bandeja paisa the national dish, with name changed to "bandeja montañera" (mountain tray) to avoid the exclusion of people outside the Paisa Region. A number of people opposed this designation, arguing that only a small percentage of the Colombian population consumes it in regular basis, that it is originated in a single region of Colombia (Antioquia). However, the suggested alternative, sancocho, is not a distinctively Colombian dish, as it is known and enjoyed in many other countries, such as Cuba, Venezuela, the Canary Islands, the Dominican Republic and Panama. Due to the widespread ubiquity of sancocho, often Colombian ajiaco is instead considered the most indicative Colombian dish.
Nonetheless, the commercial Colombian tourism industry has pushed ahead without official government sanction by emblazoning ads, menus, and brochure information with imagery of the bandeja paisa as the single most typical Colombian dish.