Top 10 Must-Try Foods in La Paz, Bolivia

If you are planning a trip to La Paz, Bolivia, then one thing you must not miss out on is the mouthwatering local cuisine. La Paz is known for its vibrant food scene, offering a variety of flavors and dishes that are sure to tantalize your taste buds.

In this article, we will explore the top 10 must-try foods in La Paz, Bolivia, giving you a comprehensive guide to the best culinary experiences the city has to offer.

1. Salteñas

Salteñas are traditional Bolivian pastries that are a must-try when visiting La Paz. These delicious snacks are similar to empanadas and are typically filled with a savory meat stew, including beef, chicken, or pork. They are baked until golden brown and served hot, making them the perfect quick bite while exploring the city. Don’t forget to try the different varieties available, such as vegetarian options or those with spicier fillings for an extra kick.

2. Anticuchos

When it comes to street food in La Paz, anticuchos are a must-try. These delicious skewered meats are typically made from marinated beef heart, though you can also find options with chicken or beef. Traditionally, anticuchos are cooked over an open flame and served with a side of potatoes or corn. The smoky flavor and tender meat make them a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

Bolivian Anticucho

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3. Fricase

Fricasé, a classic Bolivian dish, is a spicy pork stew known for its rich and warming flavors. Central to this dish are tender pork pieces simmered in a vibrant, spicy broth seasoned with aji amarillo (yellow chili pepper) and other spices like cumin and black pepper. Hominy corn adds a unique texture and a subtle sweetness. Traditionally served with boiled potatoes and bread, fricasé is a comforting, hearty meal deeply rooted in Bolivia’s culinary heritage, often enjoyed in family gatherings and festive occasions.


4. Traditional Bolivian Peanut Soup

In cold weather, a warm bowl of “sopa de mani” is the perfect comfort food. This traditional Bolivian peanut soup is made with a creamy peanut base, beef or chicken, vegetables, and spices. The combination of flavors creates a rich and hearty soup that is both comforting and delicious. Don’t forget to pair it with a side of fresh bread to soak up all the flavors.

Peanut Soup
Peanut Soup

5. Chairo

Chairo is a traditional Andean soup that is a staple in Bolivian cuisine. Made with beef or lamb, potatoes, chuños (freeze-dried potatoes), and a variety of vegetables, this soup is full of flavor and nutrients. It is often served with a side of llajwa, a spicy Bolivian salsa made with tomatoes and peppers. Chairo is a popular choice during the colder months and is sure to warm you up.

Bolivian Chairo Soup
Chairo Soup

6. Api con Pastel

If you’re looking for a traditional Bolivian breakfast or snack, api con pastel is a must-try. Api is a warm and thick purple corn beverage that is often sweetened with sugar or honey. It is traditionally served with a deep-fried pastry called pastel, which is dusted with powdered sugar. This combination of flavors and textures is a delightful treat that will leave you wanting more.

break fast api con pastel in bolivia
Api with Pastel

7. Bolivian Humitas

Bolivian humitas are similar to tamales and are a traditional Bolivian dish enjoyed throughout the country. These savory treats are made with fresh corn dough, filled with a mixture of cheese, onions, and spices, and then wrapped in corn husks before being steamed. They are often served with a side of llajwa and make for a delicious and satisfying meal.

Bolivian Humintas
Bolivian Humintas

8. La Paz dish “plato paceño”

The “Plato Paceño” is a beloved traditional dish from La Paz, the heart of Bolivia, embodying the essence of the city’s rich culinary culture. This dish is a harmonious blend of locally-sourced, simple ingredients that together create a flavor profile deeply rooted in Bolivian heritage.

La Paz Dish
La Paz Dish

At its core, the Plato Paceño features boiled corn, known as “choclo,” which is sweet and tender. Accompanying the corn is a generous serving of “habas,” or broad beans, cooked to perfection, maintaining a slight bite. The dish is further enriched with the inclusion of a slice of fresh, white cheese, balancing the flavors with its mild creaminess.

What makes the Plato Paceño truly stand out is the addition of “llajwa,” a traditional Bolivian hot sauce made from tomatoes and locoto (Bolivian hot pepper), offering a spicy kick that complements the other components beautifully.

9. Chicken Sajta

Sajta de pollo” is a popular chicken dish in La Paz that is full of flavor. It is made with chicken cooked in a spicy tomato-based sauce, usually served with rice, potatoes, and a side of llajwa. The combination of spicy and tangy flavors makes this dish a favorite among locals. If you enjoy bold and vibrant flavors, sajta de pollo is a must-try.

chicken sajta
Chicken Sajta

10. Quinoa Soup

Last but not least, quinoa soup is a dish that showcases the nutritional and culinary benefits of quinoa, a grain that is native to Bolivia. This hearty and nutritious soup is made with quinoa, vegetables, and spices, resulting in a flavorful and wholesome meal. It is often served with a side of bread or a salad for a complete dining experience.

quinoa soup
quinoa soup

Now that you know about the top 10 must-try foods in La Paz, Bolivia, it’s time to embark on a culinary adventure and indulge in the flavors of this vibrant city. Whether you’re a fan of savory pastries, hearty soups, or crispy meats, La Paz has something to satisfy every palate. So get ready to treat your taste buds and explore the rich and diverse food scene that La Paz has to offer.

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