The Street Food of Bolivia

South America is famous for its great food, and Bolivia is no exception, with many dishes being exclusive to this country. Let’s take a look at all things you shouldn’t miss if you decide to visit Bolivia. 

Anticucho

For anyone interested in great food, Antichucho might be a great way to start. This dish is rather old, and it dates to the pre-Columbian era. The modern version of this meal became popular between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, and you can find it in several countries.

These inexpensive, beef heart dishes are a street cart staple. In Bolivia, people usually use either beef or chicken and serve it with roast potatoes and a peanut sauce. Some people prepare it with boiled potatoes and bread too, but it’s not as common in Bolivia — after the conquistadors arrived, so did European ingredients like garlic. 

In the times of the Inca Empire, people used llama meat when preparing Anticucho, but beef soon replaced it as the main ingredient. 

Sandwich De Chola

Sanduíche de Chola is a specialty in Bolivia, and the name is a reference to Cholitas or indigenous women who often sell these on the street in cities like La Paz. In this sandwich, you’ll be able to find roasted pork in a crusty bun. But that’s not all! Other ingredients involve sweet-pickled vegetables and a spicy sauce. 

You can find these sandwiches regardless of the time you visit Bolivia, and people usually eat them as a part of their afternoon snack. The best way to consume them is with a couple of beers in the evening. 

One of the finest examples of this dish you can find is at Las Cholas, in the southern district of La Paz. Here, you will find over twenty different stalls making this incredible Bolivian food. So, pick the one you like, and enjoy eating it in the nearby park. 

Salteñas

The next item on the list is salteñas. A salteña is Bolivian empanada, often full of meat. Usually, it is beef, chicken, or pork mixed with a slightly spicy olive, potato, and raisin sauce. In some restaurants, you can even find a vegetarian version of this dish. 

Since this is a rather popular meal in Bolivia, you’ll be able to find it in any city. However, each version offers something different and unique. Restaurants in Sucre and Cochabamba claim to possess the greatest recipe.

In La Paz, alteñas are a mid-morning snack, but many vendors sell them early in the morning. If you want to try them out, be sure to visit a vendor before noon, since most of them will sell out in the morning. 

Choripán

The name of this meal comes from its ingredients: a grilled chorizo sausage combined with crusty bread, or pan in Spanish. There are several types of bread you can find when eating choripan, and it’s often baguette, francés, or marraqueta. The latter is especially popular in Bolivia and Peru, and it’s common in La Paz and El Alto.

If you travel through South America, you’ll find different versions of choripan. In Argentina, for example, sausages are either pork or beef. People often eat choripan as an appetizer, and the biggest consumers are taxi drivers in Buenos Aires. 

Other places you can try out a version of this delicious food include Brazil, Chile, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, and even the United States. 

Api With Buñuelos

Now, Api con buñuelos is actually a combination of two things: api, and bunuelos. Api Morado, or just api, is a Bolivian drink featuring cinnamon, maize, water, and sugar. The main ingredient is purple maize, which also gives the drink its recognizable color. 

While it might not be for everyone’s taste due to the amount of sugar, it can make a hearty breakfast. But the primary way of consuming api is with fritters or bunuelos, a type of fried dough fritters popular all over the world. 

In some countries, these are made of cheese, rice, and they are usually deep-fried. And if you combine it with api, you’ll get an incredible dish you shouldn’t miss. 

Llauchas

If you walked the streets of La Paz, you would have a hard time resisting the enticing smell of llauchas. These Bolivian empanadas consist of a pizza-like dough full of cheese. The popularity of this meal is the greatest in La Paz, and it is perfect for anyone in a hurry. 

Initially, the name for this meal was llauch’itas. In Aymara language, llauch’ita cheese meant “spreading the cheese over dough.” Over time, people shortened the name to llauchas. 

Many consider llauchas breakfast food, and they go incredibly well with coffee, tea, or api. If you are willing to try this pastry, you might need to get up earlier before vendors run out of it. 

Pasankallas

Pasankalla is an excellent puffed corn snack with sugar. You can find it all over Bolivia, but, traditionally, Copacabana is where you wanna go.

This Bolivian snack is very similar to popcorn, but they are made from different types of corn. The corn that goes into pasankallas is called p’isanqella, and it is one of many types that grow in Bolivia. 

While there are different versions of pasankallas available in Bolivia, all of them are sweet. However, the amount of sugar varies from place to place. The color of this delicious snack can be pink or even blue. It is also a lot less crunchy in comparison to popcorn, but it is still as addictive. 

The locals often sell pasankalla in large bags, and you can find it all over La Paz. 

Choclo

Choclo, or Peruvian corn, is one of many types of corn growing in the Andes. If you love corn, you’ll try something different while visiting Bolivia, trust us! Corn season is between December and March, and you’ll get a chance to try out freshly harvested cobs during this time. 

Traditionally, choclo is boiled and served hot, covered with salty homemade cheese. Normally, people in Bolivia will eat choclo as a mid-morning snack, and you can find them in markets all over the country. 

Choclo is a lot less sweet than the British yellow cobs, but it is way more caloric. Many put choclo in soups, baked dishes, stews, and other dishes in Peru and Bolivia.

Tucumanas

Tucumana is another popular type of empanada, and it’s quite common in Argentina. There are so many similarities between tucumanas and salteñas, but the main difference is that the former one is deep-fried. 

Salteñas are not for, and they are famous for their sweet flavor. Tucumanas, on the other hand, are a lot more conventional. These fried empanadas are filled with meat, vegetables, and sometimes even fried eggs. 

In Bolivia, tucumanas are another morning treat, and you’ll see lines of people waiting to try out different sauces and vegetables on the stands. People will usually eat this snack right at the kiosk, and they can add different sauces and vegetables by themselves. 

Saice

Saice is a traditional dish from the city of Tarija, in the south of Bolivia. It is a specialty of this little town, and it is a combination of meat and vegetables. To make saice, Bolivians use spicy minced beef, peas, potatoes, and cumin. They fry the beef before they combine it with the rest of the spices and vegetables. 

Finally, to spice things up, they use a hot sauce made of tomatoes, onions, and chili peppers. Then, they simmer it all until it’s ready. Traditionally, Bolivians serve saice in a bowl with noodles, rice, or potatoes. 

Saice is especially popular among students that are too busy to cook their own food and are looking for a great homemade meal. 

Summary

South America is famous for many different types of maize, but this isn’t the only food you’ll find if you visit Bolivia. Most of the dishes are popular across the Andes, but some are exclusive to Bolivia. 

The best thing about this country is that street food is quite popular. You won’t need to go far if you want to get a mid-morning snack. Moreover, you can find many incredible homemade meals as well. 

The only thing you’ll need to worry about is getting up early since most dishes will be sold out by noon. 

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