During my travels to Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru, I came across some amazing food. From these countries, probably Peruvian food is the most well-known across the world, but Bolivian cuisine is the most interesting – to me, at least. 7 of the best street foods and snacks from my adventures in La Paz are listed below. How many have you tasted?!
Humitas are prepared with fresh corn combined with lard and salt and queso fresco for a savoury dish or with fresh corn with lard, sugar, cinnamon, and raisins for a sweet dish. Savoury humitas may also be prepared with anise. Similar to Tamales from Mexico, Humitas are prepared with corn wrapped in corn husks and can be cooked in boiling water, placed in a pachamanca oven, or steamed. They can be wrapped in several ways
Aji de Fideo is one of those dishes that many Europeans would turn down, but it is basically calf tongue that has been cooked in ahi chili sauce (which is bursting with warm Bolivian flavours) and served alongside chuño, which is a dehydrated potato, and a classic Bolivian salsa of tomato, onion, and coriander. This salsa adds a little bit of freshness to mix up the heavier taste of the ‘meat’.
Coming from Santa Cruz, an eastern Bolivian city, a cuñapé is the snack to eat in the afternoon alongside a cup of coffee. They are like little buns that are made with cheese baked inside yuca flour. They remind me of the similarly-cheese Pao de Queijo from Brazil.
This dish comes from Cochabamba, deep in the valleys of Bolivia. It is like a huge, very, very flat Milanese made of beef or llama that is then breaded. This breaded meat is then served with a beetroot and carrot salad topped with fried eggs, rice and potatoes. Silpancho contains a lot of food and is not a dish for the dieting!
Sonso de Yuca is like mashed potatoes, but mixed with cheese. What makes this Bolivian dish special is that it’s made on an open-fire grill, allowing a smoky barbecue flavour that perfectly blends with the gooey cheese.
Finger foods tend to be messy, so luckily antichucho only comes out at night. Anticucho is a simple skewer of beef heart with potatoes. The beef is flame-grilled, so you have a lot of flavour from the flames and aromas of the barbecue. This street food is nothing without its sticky, spicy peanut sauce, and is among the cheaper Bolivian snacks.
The chola is a classic sandwich from La Paz. A distant relative of the Choripan from Argentina, the chola is essentially a bun stuffed with ham, slow-cooked until crispy and filled with a nice pickle of onions and ahi chili. The soft bun, crunchy pork skin and spicy chili sauce is a delicious concoction.
As you can see, this speciality is a whole hog slow-cooked on a cross – but smoked, and not over a fire. The whole process takes up to 12 hours, so it is usually prepared in the morning, and at night it is cut up. Similar to something like Babi Guling from Bali, Chancho a la Cruz is Bolivia’s own version of a party platter!