While Bolivian food hasn’t made much of an impression on the world’s culinary scene, this nation’s gastronomic delights are not to be overlooked. Meat-lovers are in for a treat as the majority of dishes involve a generous portion of carnivorous fare. Patatas rellenas are a popular dish, consisting of balls of mashed potato filled with meat, egg or cheese and vegetables and then covered in batter and deep fried.
For the Cornish pasty lover, the ubiquitous Bolivian saltena should fill any cravings you might have. These treats are made of pastry that has been folded over pasty-style and are filled with meat, vegetables, eggs, olives and spicy sauce. A staple that is found with most dishes is quinoa, which grows locally and is great option for vegetarians as it can be served in a vegetable soup or in a cheesy-tasting risotto-type dish. Choripan, a chorizo sausage in a bread roll, is a favourite with Bolivians and is usually eaten as an appetiser.
Dessert options include pacay, an unusual Bolivian legume which contains black seeds (not for eating) that are surrounded by a sweet, white flesh that is said to taste like ice cream. Alternatively, travellers can tuck into a plate of bunuelos, deep fried dough that is served with syrup or hot chocolate.
Safe eating while travelling in Bolivia
Street food that has been freshly prepared in front of you is generally a safe bet when it comes to avoiding getting sick. Ensuring your food is piping hot so all bacteria is sufficiently killed is another good policy to adopt when eating in Bolivia. If somewhere looks like it might have questionable hygiene, don’t eat there, instead look for somewhere that is filled with locals - they know where the best food is. Avoid anything that might have come into contact with water.