It’s cheap, it’s tasty and it’s some of the best in South America (I think).
Here are four popular snacks to try on the streets of Bolivia.
It’s Bolivia’s empanada and possibly my favourite street food of all time (big call I know!). Traditionally having a meat filling, these oven baked pastries are sweet and savoury at the same time. Now they are also commonly found with chicken and - very rare - even vegetarian fillings.
The first thing I was told about these was that you eat them at 10.30am. Bizarre right? Said who? But it’s true, go to a salteña restaurant in the afternoon and they may well have run out or be closed.
Important note: handle with care. The first time anyone bites into a salteña they will undoubtedly end up spraying, squirting or dribbling juices all over themselves or anyone in the near vicinity. It’s said in Bolivia that if you can’t handle your salteñas then you’re not a good kisser!
Best places to try salteñas:
La Paz - a chain called Paceña La Salteña (triple points for offering vegetarian).
Sucre - Salteñeria El Patio is reportedly the best but we prefered next door at Salteñaria Flores (also veggie options).
Cochabamba - Los Castores.
Or of course - from any street food vendor!
Essentially the same as a salteña but deep fried instead of baked. The meat fillings for both are mixed with potatoes, onions, carrots, peas, hard boiled eggs and olives – essentially like a delicious soup wrapped in pastry, hence why they’re so juicy! Preferably served with a variety of ‘home made’ sauces, the best place to try these in La Paz is a slightly hidden restaurant called Tochi la Tucumana. The sauces are out of this world.
Rellenos de papa or papa rellena
Literal translation: stuffed potato. These fried delights are made from a soft mashed potato dough and filled with a meat mix including veggies and eggs. A vegetarian variation features just a hard boiled egg inside as pictured above. Muy delicioso!
Pasteles con queso
I understand pastel to mean cake so I’m still a tad confused about why this delicious deep fried pastry stuffed with cheese shares the same name. Nevertheless they are delicious and pair especially well with the drink api, made from purple corn.