While lunch may be the most important meal in your typical Bolivian’s day that is not to say that breakfast has not taken on a life and style of its own in this unique South American country.
Western breakfast traditions like milk and cereal are slowly seeping into the Bolivian culture but there are traditional breakfast foods in Bolivia that can still be tasted today.
Should you find yourself in Bolivia at any time of the year, you will begin to hear the calls of local street vendors at around seven in the morning. This is the best time to sample some of the delicious traditional breakfast foods of Bolivia.
Traditional Breakfast Foods in Bolivia
Café con Leche
Of course, no Bolivian’s breakfast is complete without café con leche or as Anglos know it, coffee. Bolivian breakfast drinks are very important to a traditional Bolivian breakfast and coffee is just one of the beverages that you will see on the menu of a Bolivian café.
Bolivia makes some of the richest and sweetest coffee in the world and while many in the country drink it very strong and without milk, you can get traditional Bolivian coffee as thick and sweet as you can handle it. If you are not a coffee person, fear not. Bolivian breakfast vendors will usually have a ready supply of tea or mate drink to stimulate your morning.
If you are really looking for a traditional experience, you can sample the Api that is said to have been created and passed down from the Incas so many centuries ago.
Api is a corn based drink and is spiced with cloves, orange rind and cinnamon. The first thing you will notice is that it has a very thick consistency and depending on whether you try Api Morado or Api Blanco, it will have a purple or light tan coloring. It is a sweet drink that often accompanies sweet Bolivian breakfast pastries.
Bread based foods make up most of traditional breakfast foods in Bolivia and empanadas reign supreme as the staple of the first meal of the day.
You may have tried an Empanada here in the states and it was probably sweetened and maybe even filled with some kind of meat. While this style of empanada is not unheard of in Bolivia, for breakfast they have a simpler version. They eat an empanada which is essentially fried dough and sometimes puffed up to enormous proportions.
Other Bolivian Breakfast Foods
Something called buñuelos are also commonly served up for breakfast. Buñuelos in Bolivia are somewhat different from Colombian buñuelos.
In Bolivia buñuelos are simple fried balls of dough and are sometimes topped with honey. Buñuelos do not always come in ball-form. In fact you can get them to look more like their American counterparts, donuts with just a bit of searching.
In case you haven’t noticed by now, Bolivian food (particularly Bolivian breakfast foods) are usually fried, carb-heavy dishes that can be sweetened to accompany your cup of coffee or preferred breakfast drink. This is the signature of Bolivian breakfast and is demonstrated in the final breakfast food I will speak of here: Pan con queso. Literally translated, this dish is bread with cheese and it is as simple as that. A hearty roll of bread stuffed with a delightful piece of homemade cheese.