Here’s the collection of posts on Bolivian food I did while I lived there:
and some street food:
Empanadas are an ubiquitous food in Bolivia. They vary from the very simple, baked bread with a simple cheese filling, to the complicated, bread pastry with chicken or meat along with raisins, olives, hard-boiled egg, perhaps some vegetables, and a salsa. Some are spicy, while others, simple cheese-filled ones, border on the sweet. Two basic methods of cooking them exist as well. They can be fried in oil or baked in an oven.
Mani is the word for peanut in Bolivia. It’s also the name of a soup. Unsurprisingly, the soup has a base of peanut puré and usually has some vegetables and potatoes as well. The peanut puré gives the broth it’s cream-like appearance. It’s one of my favorite soups here and doesn’t have an overwhelming peanut flavor. It’s more a vegetable soup with some peanut hints.
Bolivians have a thing for putting french fries in their soups. I don’t really like it and would prefer some regular old chunks of potato instead of french fries. Luckily, in this shot we were in Torotoro, a small town in the country, where they served mani without french fries. It was good.
Apí is a traditional breakfast drink. It’s made from purple maíz (I didn’t know such a thing existed either) that is liquified with lots of sugar and some cinnamon. It has a thick texture and a sweet taste. A lot of my friends don’t like it, but when done right it’s a pleasant, although not breathtaking, way to start the day.
Menudito is a great dish. My co-worker Sergio brought me to this Chuquisaqueño restaurant to try it out, as it’s one of his favorites. It’s a stew with three types of meat, chicken, beef, and pork, and some very small potatoes and some other veggies. Everything was chopped up real small. This version also had ají which gives the broth that deep red hue and a bit of a spicy kick. It reminded me almost of a gumbo and was delicious.
Sergio explained to me as we ate, that despite being in a Chuquisaqueño restaurant, I would not find menudito in Chuquisaca. It’s a dish that Cochabambinos believe is from Chuquisaca, and so is served in Cocha at Chuquisaqueño restaurants, but is really just a Cochabamba adaptation of a style of stew from Chuquisaca. It doesn’t have to make sense.
In case all this talk of Chuquisaca is confusing you, here’s a map of Bolivia. Cochabamba is the department in the center of the country and Chuquisaca shares a southeast border. The judicial capital of the country, Sucre, is also the capital of the Chuquisaca department.
Silpancho is pretty much just a deconstructed tranchapecho. It’s quick dish that’s kind of in-between street food and a real restaurant dish. It has the same protein as tranchapecho with a fried egg on top, and is served with rice, potatoes, and a salad. The one corner place by me has a real simple menu, highlighting the affinity between silpancha and tranchapecho:
At about 7 bolivianos to the dollar, either one is a good deal for lunch.