Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Not to Miss Cuisine

The food of Antioquia and the Eje Cafetero is delicious. But just because you aren't going to Medellín or Pereira doesn't mean you can't try it. In just about every city in Colombia there is a restaurant or street vendor where you can try one of the following foods -- and truly -- you don't want to leave Colombia without having tried them. If you did miss out, there are many Colombian restaurants in major cities around the world including New York, Miami, Chicago, Toronto, Houston, Los Angeles, and even Paris. So, check out the phone book, find a Colombian restaurant near you, and have a little taste of Colombia closer to home.

Now, here's what's for dinner --->

Perhaps the most well-known meal in Antioquia and the Eje Cafetero is Bandeja Paisa. When you go to eat your first Bandeja Paisa, make sure that you are REALLY HUNGRY! Here is what you’ll get:

It might start with a bowl of soup, but the main course is a platter filled with red beans, rice, ground beef or steak, fried plantain, chicharrón (fired pork rind), chorizo (sausage), blood sausage, fried egg, avocado, and of course, arepa Paisa.

If you want to eat it like a native, then here are the keys. First, grab your fork and stab the egg yolk and allow it to run down through your rice and whatever is nearby. Then, grab the arepa with your hands, break off a small piece, and dunk it in the runny egg and eat. Next, make sure while eating your rice that your fork has equal amounts of both beans and rice before placing it in your mouth. Now, move on to take a few bites of meat. Make sure to use a knife and fork to cut the Chicharrón into pieces because if it is well cooked your teeth won’t ever make it through the skin :). Finally, put salt on the avocado and eat a bite with a spoon. Now, alternate all of the above in random order. Remember, beans can also be appropriately eaten when scooped onto the arepa. Most importantly, EAT IT ALL. Diet tomorrow!

If you really want to impress people, wash it all down with a bottle of Colombiana (a soda pop).

See a picture at the following link:

http://gustoysaborcolombiano.com/files/bandeja_paisa.jpg

Another great thing to try is Mango Biche or often misspelled Viche (I've seen it written both ways on street signs.) Biche in Colombia means “Unripened”. So, what you are eating is a not quite ripe mango. These are served with lime juice and salt. They are a treat and can be safely bought on the streets.

See a picture at the following link:

http://flickr.com/photos/ramirezlook/288814581/

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