Bolivia is known for its culture which also translates into its food – and these South American dishes are some of the best.
South American cuisine is diverse, full of bold flavors, and is often one of the most memorable things for tourists who visit. With influences from the surrounding terrain which in Bolivia’s case means a desert and tropical climate between the Atacama Desert and the Amazon Basin, the food is unlike any other in the world.
Bolivia uses classic ingredients to transform them into new flavors depending on the dish they’re used in, and each bite seems to burst with a unique taste. For those in Bolivia, here are the best foods to try.
In case a traveler is very hungry during their stay in Bolivia, then slipnacho is the dish for them. This oversized food plate includes boiled or steamed potatoes, beef or chicken, and fried eggs on a bed of fluffy white rice. On top of that, a layer of fresh parsley, beets and onions makes for a deliciously sweet and bright garnish. The dish was first created in Cochabamba and is still an iconic dish of Bolivia today.
Arroz Con Queso
As the name suggests, this dish, quite simply, is rice and cheese. However, this is not just any ordinary cheese and rice dish; in Bolivia, arroz con queso is made from semi-firm white cheese. The cheese has just a hint of salty and a tangy flavor and makes an extraordinary creamy dish when heat is added. The consistency is similar to that of an Italian risotto thanks to the Arborio rice used.
Many people know chicarróns, but in Bolivia they can be found almost everywhere. These crispy and crispy fried pork rinds are the perfect snack for travelers who are on the go and they always hit the spot. The dish is believed to originate from Andalusia but has now made its way throughout Bolivia, and it’s a popular favorite among locals.
This interesting dish is easily recognized by the hard-boiled egg slices resting on it. The base layer of this dish consists of French fries which are submerged under layers of hot dogs, ground beef, eggs, cheese, chilies and peppers. Locals don’t hold back when it comes to condiments either, and they’re usually topped with a mix of mustard, ketchup, and mayonnaise. The final touch comes in the form of hard-boiled eggs and while it’s certainly a mouthful of flavors, it all works satisfactorily together.
Picante De Pollo
Also known as spicy chicken, Picante de Pollo is another classic Bolivian dish incredibly popular with locals and at many restaurants. For this dish, pieces of chicken are cooked with potatoes, onions, tomatoes, peas, aji Amarillo peppers (the characteristic spicy flavor) and chicken broth. The sauce that remains is then flavored with bold spices such as cumin, oregano and garlic to complete the dish.
It’s Bolivia’s national dish and although these treats are small, they also have a powerful flavor. Salteñas can be found all over the country and consist of a filling of chicken or beef wrapped in a dough that is pinched closed and baked in the oven. Spices such as cumin, oregano and adobo seeds are what give these little pockets of delicacies their signature flavor. The sweetness of the dough contrasts with the savory, slightly spicy filling and creates a blend of flavors that make it a favorite among all Bolivian dishes.
Sopa De Maní
Also known as peanut soup, this dish has been seen on Chef not so long ago. While popular long before it was seen on national television, it was a favorite throughout Bolivia. The soup consists of white peanuts as a base (hence its classic nutty flavor), mixed vegetables, pieces of beef or chicken and macaroni. When the soup is finished, it is garnished with a slightly unusual garnish: fries! The result is something quite unique with balanced flavors, and it has made many Bolivian travelers rethink how much they underestimated peanuts.
It seems almost every country has its own version of meat on a skewer and the anticucho is the Bolivian version. This dish takes its name from the Quechua language and consists of beef hearts seasoned with oil, garlic, cumin and yellow pepper. The skewers are grilled over open fire and give an incredibly tender meat full of flavor thanks to all its spices. When the meat is fully cooked, it is served with a spicy peanut chili sauce with a side of potatoes.
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