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A guide to the street food in La Paz

Rafael Bahia

Angelo Dal Bó

In Bolivia, it’s not necessary to move about or waste time to eat. If you can’t go to your meal, it will find you, with a different option on every corner. It seems like Bolivians’ appetite is endless: restaurants, markets, stands, and food carts serve delicacies at all times of day and also change their menus according to the time.

 

Around 90% of the Paceños eat out, making street food a serious business in the city. As such, learning about Bolivian culture is also discovering how and what they eat there. So let yourself get lost in the flavors of La Paz.

 

Choripán

This sandwich is extremely versatile. It’s famous in many countries in Latin America, but in Bolivia, it’s made with two slices of bread, seasoned sausages, and cabbage, carrot and tomato salad. To top it off, mayonnaise, ketchup, and mustard. Make sure you have enough napkins: you’ll need them!

 

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Caldo de cardán

Bye, sleepiness! Bye, cold! The day starts with spicy soups made of bull’s genitals. But don’t worry: the dish truly has nutritive properties, as it is energy giving and offers a good dose of protein.

 

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Salteña

“It’s the main cause of stains on clothes here in La Paz,” jokes the attendant. Indeed, you should be careful. Salteñas have several filling options, including chicken and beef, and are very succulent. You should bite the tip of the pastry, which is slightly sweet, and drink all the juice inside before digging your teeth into it. You can find salteñas everywhere in the late morning hours.

Another version of empanada is known as tucumana, which is a fried pastry.

 

Charquekan

One of the options for lunch has a base of dried meat, shredded and salted, of cattle or llama. It’s usually served with a thick slice of cheese, mote (cooked corn), potatoes, and a hard-boiled egg with shell.

 

Choclo con queso

The color may seem pale, but the flavor will surprise you. A piping hot corncob is placed in a plastic bag together with a slice of cheese freshly out of the grill. A bite here, a bite there, and you’ll experience the cheese adding a salty flavor to the fleshy kernels in your mouth.

 

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Anticucho

Late at night, flames appear on every corner. They heat the skewers containing the tender meat of beef heart. The cooks use a squeeze bottle to apply a solution made of olive oil and salt to the grill, stirring up the flames and illuminating the night in La Paz even more.