There really is everything here when it comes to food; Japanese restaurants, Tex-Mex, Spanish, French alongside traditional food such as sajta de pollo, llama steaks, glorious trout from Lake Titicaca and a stunning range of fruit and veg that maybe you won't recognise. Tourism is one of the best ways of sharing money out among a lot of different people - tip 10% or round up the bill and leave your small change.
CAFÉ CON CUÑAPE to usually eaten in the after 12:00 at teatime
‘Cuñapes’ are hard manioc flour and cheese dough-balls that if you attempt to eat dry will break your teeth. This can easily be overcome by adding them to coffee. A strange combination but one that works -for some.
Just break the cuñape into bite size pieces and slip them gently into hot coffee, preferably black with no sugar. Milk and sugar can be added but are not advised
This concoction will resemble a soggy cheese scone in coffee but don’t be put off by this. You may be pleasantly surprised Leave the pieces floating in the coffee for a while for extra sogginess or just dunk briefly if you prefer a crunch to your cuñape. Then keep adding to your heart’s content. There’s no stopping you putting the whole cuñape into the coffee but this will be quite a mouthful and you may lose a tooth in the process! This is indeed an acquired taste but café con cuñape makes a far more interesting alternative to tea and toast in the mornings. Cuñapes are available from Hypermaxi supermarkets and most local bakeries. Also try out this and other food from Santa Cruz at “El Horno Camba” on the Landaeta just up from the Plaza del Estudiante.
If the café con cuñape has not kept you going until lunch-time, a delicious mid-morning snack of ‘salteñas’ will do the trick. They are too small to be a meal but perfect if you are feeling slightly peckish.
They are the Bolivian version of the British Cornish pastie: a hot, light pastry filled with tender shredded chicken or meat and a mixture of vegetables covered with gravy. Be careful though, as the gravy explodes out covering you and your surroundings. Eating these is an art that must be mastered but is well worth the effort.
Salteñas are as popular with Bolivians as they are with tourists. They can be found wherever you look in La Paz, on street stalls and in cafés and restaurants (for a civilized experience we recommend Café Royal on the Prado). The air is filled with the mouth-watering smell emanating from them. These are a definite must when you come to Bolivia.
bolivia-guide.com highly recommends the vegetarian salteñas in the Edicio Hilda on the 6 de Agosto opposite the Medicentro.
If you are in search of a feast, look no further than a ‘Pique Macho’ at ‘El Horno Camba’ (Calle Landeta). For as little as 25 Bs you can get a large plateful of delicious steaming food that will leave you feeling comfortably full. Pique Macho is a mixture of succulent shredded beef, chopped frankfurters (with frayed edges to add a certain touch), chopped fried peppers and onions, and pieces of hard boiled egg, all in a meaty sauce and served on a bed of crinkle-cut chips. What more could you ask for in a meal!
This dish is perfect as a lunch-time meal; it will either energize you and keep you going for the rest of the day or it will make you very sleepy and in need of a siesta!
One thing that must be tried, be it out of mere curiosity or for the sheer love of meat, is a Llama Steak. 100% Natural on Calle Sagárnaga serves llama steak with a variety of sauces, vegetables and potatoes. You need to be hungry as it is quite a plateful. On this occasion llama with garlic, vegetables and mash was ordered The steak arrived swimming in garlic sauce with half a plateful of instant mashed potato and a side plate of vegetables. Aside from the overpowering garlic sauce, the llama steak was very tasty. Unexpectedly it had the consistency of pork rather than that of beef. The ‘mashed’ potato was really creamy, and with the vegetables was a good accompaniment to the rich meat.