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Paisa food – Discover the traditional food in Medellín

Typical paisa food in Medellin, Colombia on a wood table: arepas and chicken, fish, meat, avocado, cheese, black beans and pork to eat with the arepas.
When you visit a new city, one of the most frequent questions is “what do I eat there?”.

Well, Medellín has a wide gastronomic variety with dishes that may seem a little bit strange to you at first. However, we’re sure that once you will have tried it you will love it. Today VICO will tell you about the most representative items of the paisa food.

Bandeja paisa – The most Antioquian dish of all

Also known as arriero tray, it’s a meal that you need to try at least once in your life. You will not find more paisa than this one. It’s basically a very rich dish with a generous amount of varied ingredients.

The Bandeja Paisa is traditionally made up of beans, white rice, a fried egg, pork rinds, ground beef, chorizo, banana chop, avocado and arepa. So when the day for you to try comes, you’ll need to have enough space in your stomach to enjoy this delicacy.

Although the origin of the bandeja paisa is still not very clear, the myth is that the peasants of yesteryear liked eating in abundant quantities. This explains why they have so much food.

If you want to learn how to prepare it yourself, you can find a nice recipe here.

Where to eat it ?: We recommend three restaurants in the city of Medellín where they serve the best bandeja paisa: Hacienda Junín located in the center of the city, El Trifásico restaurant located in Envigado and finally, El Rancherito in the via Las Palmas
Price: Depending on where you go to, the bandeja paisa can cost between 12,000 and 30,000 COP (3.9 to 9.7 USD)

Church Empanada – A mouthful of happiness

Paisa food - Discover the traditional food in Medellín 4dedec4d6dae9eb696fff767796826bd
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Medellín’s strong religious culture also influences the paisa food. Indeed, you’ll find an empanada stall next to almost every church in the city. It’s a delicious mixture of corn dough with a potato filling that you can season with sweet or spicy pepper.

Despite being the typical paisa food in Medellín, empanadas are actually from North Africa. Arabs invented them as pita bread (instead of flour) filled with various types of meat and sauces. Then, empanadas arrived in Colombia with the conquest and colonization of America and adapted to Colombian tastes.

Where to eat it ?: In front of the majority of churches in Medellín. However, classic empanadas are nowadays everywhere in the city. You don’t really need to look for a stall to find one.
Price: The church empanadas cost between $300 and $2,000.

Chocolate parvia’o – the paisa food for all occasions

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It’s a tradition in Antioquia and in its capital Medellín that in the afternoons people gather to eat chips and drink chocolate. But you might wonder what is parva. That is how bread and pastries are called here. If you want to learn more about Medellín’s local vocabulary, click here and discover the most used paisa words.

Historically, this type of food wasn’t accessible to low-income people. In that sense, “parvear” was a time that Antioquia high-birth societies originated. Nowadays, everyone has access to chocolate since it is a fairly cheap and accessible product. Moreover, you can now find bakeries selling bread in every neighborhoods.
So the chocolate parvia’o ended up being a social ritual in the city. It is indeed the moment where you relax and enjoy a delicious chocolate with cheese and add parva de sal (cheese bread, yucca bread, biscuits, toast). The most important thing is still to be in good company, it will always make the taste better.

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Where to eat it ?: You can “Parvear” everywhere, even in your residence. You can go to a bakery where you will always find bread and chocolate. We recommend Santa Leña bakery in the El Tesoro shopping center.
Price: It is a plan which price varies according to where you want to do it. If you go to a bakery in your neighborhood you will spend around $15,000. If you go to well-known place in the city, it could be between $15,000 and $30,000.

 La arepa – Nothing more paisa than the arepa

The arepa is definitely the most paisa food you can find. Its consumption is massive in the Antioquía region. There is no paisa breakfast that does not have arepa. In fact, every paisa meal counts an arepa.

The arepa is a pre-Columbian invention among the territories and it now corresponds to Venezuela and Colombia. It is a symbol of indigenous tradition that still remains within the local gastronomy. It is made from ground dry corn or pre cooked corn flour and it comes in a circular and flattened way. The arepa paisa is the most famous one, but there’s in reality a thousand ways to prepare it in Colombia.

Don’t be surprised if you see someone with a necklace of arepas. Paisas encourage foreigners to hang it around their neck to welcome them and make them feel at home. Don’t ask questions, it is just part of the culture. You got it, the arepa is everything for the Antioquenos.

Where to buy it ?: You can find the arepas in every neighborhood store. Restaurants also offer them to consumers. It is basically a product sold in any meal place.
Price: A package of five arepas has a value from $1,200 onwards. Now if you want to get it cooked and accompanied with other foods, it costs at least $4,000.

 María Luisa – a cake with history

Paisa food - Discover the traditional food in Medellín Mora

Maria Luisa is a delicious cake that became a total delight for those who serve it at their table. It perfectly combines the softness of the vanilla cake and the sweetness of the caramel or blackberry jam. You can accompany it with a refreshing glass of milk .

During the 20th century, it was common for middle-class women to work in different places in the city. As the houses in Medellín were so large, many of this women decided to create their business in the living rooms of their homes. Among those it became more popular were the bakeries, at that time Maria Luisa was invented.

Its name corto Mrs. María Luisa Toro, who sold this cake at her bakery located in Ayacucho with Córdoba. Sometimes food history tells you more about the traditions of each culture than any book.

Where to eat it ?: We recommend visiting the pastry shop El Portal, or Amars cake shop.These two places offer exquisite María Luisa.
Price: Depending on the size you want, you can have find it for between $15,000 and $50,000.

Now you can go ahead and enjoy all the flavors that the paisa food has for you.

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