Medellin food is known for its fried, well, EVERYTHING!
High fat, high calories, lots of whole milk, heavy cream, meat, and gallons of vegetable oil seem to make up every meal in Medellin. Although there is plenty variety of spices, fruits, and other healthy choices, the traditional Paisa seems to have a phobia against more heart healthy options.
That is why SaludPan is such a find.
SaludPan is celebrating their 3rd year in business. This alternative restaurant is located a short walk from Estadio Metro Station just off the corner of La 70 and Laurales Circular 4. This restaurant serves white meat; chicken and fish, vegetarian food, vegan food, and can customize dishes for those on specific diet (e.g. nut allergies, gluten intolerance, low salt..anything you may need). All you have to do is let this restaurant know if you have any specific dietary requirements or exclusions and they can recommend or customize meals for you. This is quite helpful, because Medellin is known for its lack of dietary variety.
SaludPan isn’t just a restaurant.
They also sell organic, vegetarian, and homemade foods. They are well known for their daily baked breads. and have a variety of veggie burgers and meat substitutes, sugar free syrups, gourmet oils, and a variety of grains and other hard to find foods.
The only thing I didn’t see on their shelves (and forgot to ask if they ever carry) was Nutritional Yeast (which I love and grew up eating foods made with it). Considering how impossible it to find much of this food, and the quality of the foods they carry, the prices are quite reasonable. Stuff is the same, or slightly more than what I would pay in the states.
SaludPan has a sister restaurant outside of town in Retiro; located in Mall la Fe Local 10. This second location opened November of 2011 and offers the same great selection.
SaludPan serves breakfast all day, and lunch after 12noon. There is no separate dinner, so prices remain the same all day.
The Medellin location is open Monday through Saturday 8am to 8pm, and the Retiro location opens Tuesday through Sunday 9am to 7pm. Breakfasts run $4.500 – $6.000COP (about $2.50 to $3.50USD). Lunch/Dinner runs between $9.000 – $12.000COP (approximately $4.50 to $6.00USD). These prices are very competitive with other restaurants in the area and are quite budget friendly; considering the high-quality of the meals.
When I went, I went about 2:30 in the afternoon for a late lunch. I picked a vegetarian tamale, and the meal came with a choice of soup, juice, salad, and desert.
I chose the Queen Victoria soup because I had no idea what it was, and the waitress didn’t know the correct English word to explain it. Turns out it is a delicious, creamy potato soup that was thickened with potatoes, not cream.
The entree was vegetables wrapped in a tamale leaf, but it was just vegetables inside. The vegetables were cooked al-dente, so they still had a little crunch to them. (Which is awesome, I hate mushy, slimy vegetables).
On the side was a light salad with fluffy, light, tofu ‘feta’ cheese cubes. This ‘feta’ cheese could have used a bit more salt or creamy texture to it, but it was still good in the salad.
The entree also came with 2 different sauces, a creamy, ranch-ish type dressing (I have no idea what it was actually made with) and a spicy red, puréed vegetable type of sauce. It had a little spice, and I’m pretty sure some ginger. It was similar in texture to the pureed carrot-ginger salad dressing I’ve gotten at many Korean restaurants. This pureed sauce was delicious on the vegetable tamale, and added the extra little oomph of flavour the dish needed (and I’m positive this is done on purpose). I actually preferred to mix both dressings with the vegetable tamale and eat my salad plain.
After the entree came a surprise little chocolate berry (pretty sure it was raspberry) dessert. The cake itself was a little dry, but the berry compote on top made it better. I don’t know for sure if the cake was actually chocolate or carob, but I am pretty sure it was vegan, carob cake. I say this because every vegan cake I have had always has that same dryness, and there was something different about the flavour. Either way, it was pretty good.
The meal, overall, I found delicious.
I would love to eat there again.
I also left full and full of energy, and very light and non-bloated feeling, finally. If I could afford to, I would eat here a few times a week.
If you are coming to Medellin, I highly recommend having at least one meal at SaludPan. The are located very close to the Estadio station (10 minute walk tops) and close to The Wandering Paisa hostel (about 5 minute walk).
The information for the Salud Pan in Medellin (the one I visited) is:
Laureles (neighbourhood, on the border of Estadio and Laureles)
Circular 4 #70-78
Phone: (4) 411-69-35
The information for Salud Pan in Retiro is:
Mall la Fe Local 10
Via Las Palmas
Phone: (4) 542-02-94