Bandeja Paisa – A Traditional Hearty Colombian Midday Dish

Bandeja Paisa pic
Bandeja Paisa

Assad Boulos is a longtime Houston entrepreneur who has managed a number of convenience stores and shopping centers over the past three decades. Assad Boulos has also spearheaded several restaurants, including Juan Parilla, which features a Latin-fusion menu and is situated in the popular Galleria area.

Juan Parilla’s chef is a native Colombian and highlights the unique flavors of his native country in dishes such as ceviche and bandeja paisa. Literally meaning “people’s plate,” bandeja paisa is traditional in coffee-growing regions, where plantation harvesters would come down from the steep hillsides at midday seeking a hearty meal.

While actual components vary, depending on what is fresh and available locally, bandeja paisa incorporates ingredients such as steak, French fries, a fried egg, chicharron (fried pork belly), rice, and beans. It may also be accompanied by tajadas de plátano, or baked sweet plantains. Lime is served on the side to squeeze on top, as well as sliced avocados. Bandeja paisa is often served with mazamorra, a drink made of milk and maize grain.