They stand at busy intersections or in popular parks, serving anyone who passes by on their way to work, a party, home, elsewhere. The only problem is, there are so many of these vendors, how do you know which ones have the best street food in Medellín?
I’m not sure I have the right answers, but I have some good ones. Your recommendations are welcome as well. I want to know about as many of these street vendors as possible.
Right now I’m familiar with about a dozen of them, and I’m going to give you my favorites, but there aren’t five, only because there are three that are so good, I can’t bring myself to put any others in their company.
I’m not even going to rank them, because you can’t go wrong with any.
They’re good options, if you’re looking for something quick, good and cheap, without having to go to Burger King, Subway or one of the handful of ubiquitous fast food chains in the city.
I sometimes pick a couple of these places even over established restaurants. They’re that good.
The Meat Man
I’ll start with the one who is probably the most popular, so popular he got a nickname from a group of foreigners staying at a nearby hostel: The Meat Man.
Not only does he have some of the best street food in Medellín, his ribs should have been part of this story.
I love the picada, a plate that comes with ribs, chorizo, chicken and beef, along with sides of an arepa, coleslaw and fries.
The best part is, you can choose how much you want.
I usually get the plate for 5,000 pesos (about $2.50). It’s enough to fill me.
If I’m really hungry, I’ll buy the 10,000-peso plate (about $5). But on those in-between appetite days, I’ve gone for the 7,000-peso or 8,000-peso plate (about $3.50 to $4), the difference being a piece of meat or two
You’ll get a laugh or two while you’re waiting as well. The owner speaks English and loves making jokes with the foreigners who stop by.
He’s in a great place in Laureles, the corner of Calle 46 on the east side of La 70, so it’s not hard to find him, as long as it’s not a Monday, when he often takes the day off.
Just a block or so away, on the opposite of La 70 at Calle 44B, you’ll find The Meat Man’s sister. She sells pork tenderloin, which she cuts of the shoulder cooking at her cart.
The pork is always tender, and it comes with two arepas, salad, potato salad, fries, potatoes and a quail egg.
It’s a really big plate for 11,000 pesos (about $5.50). There are no smaller plates.
The single-option factor makes me reserve my visits for nights I’m really hungry, or when I’m sharing the plate with a friend.
I was hesitant to add a third, because Big Mama and The Meat Man are in a class by themselves, but the chorizo is so good in Sabaneta, I had to add one of the carts there.
It’s at Calle 72 Sur and Carrera 45, just don’t ask me which corner exactly because I still don’t know my way around this booming suburb like I do Medellín.
It shouldn’t be hard to find, though. There’s a cart with lots of meat hanging from it, and lots of it sizzling on the grill behind it. I think I paid 8,000 pesos (about $4) for my chorizo.
I suppose I could have added a buñuelo cart to the list, to complete things, as Sabaneta is known as much for those fried balls of dough as it is its chorizo. But I’m not as big a fan of the buñuelo.
Don’t worry, I’m not saying I won’t change my mind and add it someday. Stranger things have happened.
Where’s your favorite place to get street food? Include the address, if you know it.