Learn to prepare bandeja paisa, the traditional Colombian dish, specifically from the kitchens of the Antioquia region. It’s very easy to do and will satisfy even the most ferocious appetites. Generous is the best word to describe the bandeja paisa. It’s plentiful, full of different flavors, comes in big serving sizes, which is why it’s always served on a big platter. "The components never vary and preparing it isn’t difficult. The most important thing is that the beans are well prepared," said Mariana, a native of Pereira, and who lives in Astoria, New York. It’s traditionally served with beans, white rice, ground beef or grilled beef (sometimes both), chicharron (pork rinds), sausage, sweet plantains or tostones, fried egg, avocado and an arepa (white or yellow). "You have to eat with good appetite, because there is no such thing as a half portion. If there is some leftover, save it for the next day," adds Mariana. In 2005, the Colombian government raised the idea of naming the bandeja paisa as the national dish. But critics were quick with their objections, arguing that only a percentage of the Colombian population eats it, and that it originated from a just one region of the country. Regardless of whether or not it’s the national dish, it’s without a doubt the most generously proportioned of all Colombian dishes.
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