Although it has been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, in Bolivia, lunch is actually the main meal. Bolivian food like the food of all countries, depends on the ingredients that are abundant in the area as well as the climate. Many Bolivian recipes include potatoes, which Bolivians love and serve several times per day. Bolivia makes use of a multitude of spices in their cooking as they abundant in the country.
Traditional Bolivian food uses meat in a lot of dishes, and this meat is either fried or boiled. Bolivians also use fish like Trout as a main protein in their dishes.
Bolivians use spices like ajíes and peppers in large amounts. They also use the same cooking tools as other people when making foods like lechon, and tools for grinding and spreading the condiments and spices.
In Bolivia foods and dishes can be served as poco picante, medio picante or just picante.. Picante, by definition literally means hot to the taste buds. When you’re talking about the levels of spiciness in Bolivian food, you can understand that it’s mainly food made with high quantities of condiments like peppers, meats, potatoes and the like.
Representative Bolivian Dishes
- Salteñas A warm savory baked pastry made with chicken or meat, greens and sauce. Salteñas are only for breakfast or to eat in the mornings.
- Humitas are a similar dish to tamales. Bolivians make them with corn and cheese, and wrap them in corn leaves to steam them.
- Empanadas are also fairly common in Bolivia like in many other Hispanic countries. In Bolivia empanadas are a savory pastry made with cheese, cheese with onions, olives and locoto. Locoto is a word that comes from the Aymara Luqutu and it is a round chili pepper of medium size.
- Sandwich de Chola is a delicious sandwich Bolivians make with roasted pork leg, lettuce and locoto.
- Roast suckling pig or lechon is an important meal in Bolivia like in other countries of Hispanic America, for example Cuba and Puerto Rico.
- Chanka de pollo o de conejo is a soup with chicken or guinea pig, potato, peas and green onions. Interesting to see the similarity with a soup Colombians from the capital eat called Changua. It is also made with chicken, potatoes and green onions.
- Chicharrones or pork fritters are pieces of fried pork. The interesting difference with most of the chicharrones throughout Latin America is that Bolivian chicharrones are cooked with chicha. Chicha is the fermented food Incas made from corn.
- Charque de llama is simply dried llama meat. Bolivians fry it and serve it with stewed corn, hard boiled eggs and cheese. Other traditional dishes like pique a lo macho and sajta de pollo are examples of fantastic and delicious dishes from Bolivia.
Together with these foods, you might like to drink beverages like the api which is a Bolivian tea made out of lemon, corn, cloves and cinnamon or mate de coca which is a tea made out of the coca leaf.
There are many fruit shakes that Bolivia specializes in as well as wines. The best bottles of Bolivian wine can be found in the Tarjina region.
Bolivian Cooking Styles
When you’re talking about cuisines of Bolivia, there are two kinds of cooking styles and recipes that stem from the type of regions. There’s the altiplano cuisine and the lowlands cuisine. They both use ingredients that are native to the region.
There might be times when you’re in Bolivia where a certain kind of dish or meal is only eaten during a festival. While it’s tradition to cook and eat certain foods on a holiday, they can be prepared and cooked on regular days. An example of a traditional dish that’s consumed in festivals is the puchero and that’s served for carnival days.
Weather you decide to eat a typical Bolivian food or a dish Bolivians eat on a special holiday be sure to be ready to enjoy a dish filled with taste and some spice.