Three Bolivian Specialties

Bolivia Cook Book

Living in Bolivia was an experience in healthy eating. I don’t think I’ve ever consumed as many fresh fruits and vegetables as during our time there. And it’s all so affordable. You can buy a papaya the size of a toddler for less than a dollar. Of course, not every Bolivian specialty is healthy. Here are some of the more hearty dishes we enjoyed…

El Plato Paceño

The “Plate of La Paz” is probably the most famous dish in the country’s biggest city. A number of friends had swooned over it, and so we immediately sought it out after arriving here. At the table, napkin tucked into my collar, I was rubbing my hands together in anticipation, wondering what this miracle dish would be. And then it was set in front of me. Underwhelming doesn’t begin to describe it. A piece of meat, a big potato, an ear of corn and beans? Just thrown together on a plate?! This was the famous plato paceño?!

But then I started eating. It might be a simple and uncreative dish, but everything was perfectly cooked and delicious. And now, I’ve become one of those people who breathlessly recommend the plato paceño.


This pork dish is a specialty of Cochabamba, but also popular in La Paz. I ordered it at a busy terrace restaurant in Mallasa, after we had visited the Valle de la Luna. Chicharrón is prepared by stewing chunks of pork in a massive cauldron along with garlic, oregano, lemon and chicha (a slightly-alcoholic fermented corn drink). Mine was served with sick-looking blackened potatoes called chuños. The meat was incredibly tender and fell off the bone at the slightest touch.

We ordered it a couple more times when we got to Cochabamba. I don’t know why it amuses me so much, but a restaurant that serves chicharrón is called a chicharronería. Sounds like a nasty Bolivian jungle disease.


When Jürgen ordered this Bolivian specialty, he hadn’t been expecting a massive bowl of orange-colored soup with giant pig bones sticking out and heart-sized potatoes floating around the brine. He was initially so disgusted that he almost sent it back. But, just like my experience with the Plato Paceño, all grumbling disappeared the instant he started eating.

It was a bit hard to get the meat off the bone without making a nasty, splashy mess, but he mostly managed. I knew he was pleased with his fricasé when he looked up at me with a huge grin, mouth completely smeared with orange slop. Aww… that’s my guy!

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. The Travel Chica

    Buenos Aires is killing my heart and my waistline!  Must get to Bolivia soon 🙂

  2. Juergen

    You won’t loose any weight here either, food is incredible (with tons of yummy spices) and on top of it very affordable. 😉 When  are you planing to go to Bolivia?

  3. Merisa

    Bolivian food is delicious! I live in the United States in Virginia and i have been dancing Caporales for 8 years now and the group hosts food party’s to help raise money and they make Chicharrón and some other Bolivian dishes that are wonderful!! Saltenas are also great! I would love to actually take a trip to Bolivia and see the Beautiful country for myself!!!!

    1. Juergen

      You have to visit Bolivia!!! I think this country will change a lot over the next 10 years!!!!! So do it rather sooner than later.

      We are actually amazed how good the food is here. We try to eat traditional at least once a day.
  4. criolla

    Our food, breads,drinks, are celestial, a well kept secret ,we Bolivian live to eat,we have meals only served at certain times.If you are away you can still cook them,plenty of recepies on line.

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