The 5 Best Traditional Foods You Need to Try on Your Trip to Bolivia

It’s fair to say Bolivia isn’t a world famous culinary destination, with many of its dishes focused around the carb-heavy, pre-colonial staples of potatoes and rice. But there are a few mouthwatering local delicacies that are worth sampling for yourself. Here is our list of the yummiest Bolivian foods that must be tasted on your next visit to the country.

1. Salteñas


The quintessential Bolivian breakfast, salteñas are a tasty, oven-baked pastry filled with peas, carrots, potatoes and meat, drowning in copious amounts of sweet and spicy gravy. Ubiquitous throughout the country, they are said to have originated from an Argentinian woman who moved to Bolivia and made the best empanadas in the land. Local mothers would tell their children to “pick me up a few empanadas from the Salteña” (women from Salta), and thus the name was born. Eating them without making a mess is a source of pride among Bolivians, best achieved by biting the end off and drinking the gravy before devouring the rest.

2. Sanduíche de Chola (pork sandwich)


The chola is a classic sandwich from La Paz. “We’ve had a lady selling chola in our neighborhood for over 52 years,” says Kamilla Seidler, Gustu’s executive chef. “It’s a bun stuffed with ham, but you know, ham that’s slow-cooked until it’s crispy — with a nice pickle of onions and ahi chili.” The soft bun, crunchy pork skin and spicy chili sauce is, as Seidler affirms, delicious.

3. Silpancho


The chola is a classic sandwich from La Paz. “We’ve had a lady selling chola in our neighborhood for over 52 years,” says Kamilla Seidler, Gustu’s executive chef. “It’s a bun stuffed with ham, but you know, ham that’s slow-cooked until it’s crispy — with a nice pickle of onions and ahi chili.” The soft bun, crunchy pork skin and spicy chili sauce is, as Seidler affirms, delicious.

4. Sajta

Popular in the city of La Paz, Sajta is a traditional sauce that accompanies a meal with chicken, onions, tomatoes, potatoes, and peanuts. This traditional meal is usually served for lunch and is eaten on special occasions like All Saints’ Day and Carnivals.

5. Tucumanas

Tucumanas is a deep fried version of a Salteña with more potatoes, carrots, peas, olives and less stew-like fillings. This rugby-ball shaped Bolivian specialty is also named after a city (Tucuman) in Argentina. The pastry can be stuffed with various fillings both vegetarian and non-vegetarian versions are equally popular. They can be snacked on during any time of the day but typically fuels the locals’ days as a mid-morning snack.

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