Bolivia Food

Bolivia food is most notable for its price. This is the cheapest country in South America to eat and whilst it does not offer the diverse range that will be available in some other areas, the food in Bolivia still has a certain charm to it. If you are sensible then you should be able to eat in Bolivia for around $10 per day assuming you are not dining in the exclusive restaurants within tourist areas.


Traditionally the Bolivian's main meal of the day is almuerzo (lunchtime) and if you shop around for set menus then in many places you will find a good three course meal for as little as $3! The locals will often head home from work and relax with the family for this which will usually be followed by a siesta. The main part of lunch consists largely of the three staples of Bolivian food; potatoes, rice and meat and is often accompanied with a soup starter.


Coca leaves have always been intrinsic to Bolivian culture and for a long time have been one of the country's biggest exports. Given they are the source from which cocaine is made coca has always been a controversial subject but it is used for many different things that are not illegal! When I travelled in Bolivia I bought some Coca leaves to chew for when we travelled through the mountains because they are particularly effective in curing the effects of altitude sickness. They are also used by the locals as flavouring for hot drinks and many of the aboriginal people use them for religious practices.

The markets

For those with iron stomachs the markets have a rich choice of many traditional Bolivia foods. Many of the stalls offer foods that are commonplace when you travel South America including the likes of saltenas (meat filled pastries) and choripan (chorizo and bread). However, for the more adventurous one can try the delights of beef heart, ceviche (raw fish) or the truly traditional silpancho which consists of meat on top of a layer of rice, potatoes and egg. Eating from the market is also staggeringly cheap so could be particularly attractive for those travelling on a budget!


Bolivia food is not for everyone's tastes so there is a wide selection of restaurants in all of the tourist cities that offer a very international flavour. Clearly if you choose to eat in the tourist areas the prices will not be nearly as reasonable but you can find some excellent restaurants. Like anywhere, Bolivia offers food from all corners of the world but in particular seems to have a pizzeria on every street!