I love finding new types of foods, so I decided to try Columbian food for the first time at a local restaurant not too far from Toronto. When I saw the menu, the first thing I noticed was the fresh fruit “jugo” (juice) options. We tried naranjilla with water and lulo (another name for naranjilla) with milk. Both were refreshingly delicious.
We then got an order of hot, crispy, golden empanadas to share. These ones were filled with potato and beef and came with a side of salsa-like sauce. It was a bit oily, but the crust was super crunchy and the filling was lightly seasoned with spices. I was hoping that the sauce was similar to an Ecuadorian “aji” which has some heat, but it was just a simple tomato-based sauce.
For the main dish, we shared bandeja paisa which is a mish-mash of different meats, vegetables and fruits piled onto one plate.
Bandeja paisa is the name of a traditional Columbian platter. This one in particular was filled with saucy beans, fried egg, avocado, sweet plantain, salty plantain, sausage, corn flat bread and rice (hidden under everything) and we upgraded to include a piece of steak. That odd looking castle-top piece is Columbian’s version of bacon. It was a bit rough to cut through and it definitely tastes different in comparison to our typical bacon, but it was interesting to try.
Overall, this was an interesting culinary experience. My favourite item on the plate was the plantain, but I found that a majority of the food wasn’t as flavourful as I had hoped. However, my experiences with South American food in general has created the notion that a lot of their food is more simple and natural tasting than packed full of spices and seasonings like other cultures. I would go again to try some other dishes, but I’m not sure I would order the platter again. Empanadas and plantain though? Yes!
3038 Hurontario St #9
Mississauga, ON L5B 3B9