The 18 Best Bolivian Foods – Traditional Dishes you have to try!

Let’s explore the best Bolivian foods and learn about the people’s deep connection to their land and culture. Bolivian cuisine is a treasure trove of flavors of many combinations of influences from different cultures.

From the iconic Chola Sandwich to the spicy Bolivian salsa, Llajwa, Bolivian cuisine has stories to tell that are deeply rooted in the history of Latin America.

Bolivian food market

Check out my recipes from other Latin American countries: Ecuadorian Desserts and Puerto Rican Breakfasts.

With a rich tapestry of flavors, Bolivia’s cuisine is unique and will stimulate your taste buds! Let’s explore these dishes of South America!

1. Sándwich de chola (Chola sandwich)

Sándwich de chola (Chola sandwich)

Nowadays, you can’t talk about Bolivian food without mentioning the delicious Sándwich de Chola, especially in the city of La Paz. This beautiful, fatty sandwich of Latin America takes time and is a labor of love.

You have this soft, fluffy bun that is filled with a variety of savory ingredients that is a typical Bolivian lunch. The classic combination is roast pork, tomatoes, onions, hard-boiled eggs, mayonnaise, and a special Bolivian seasoning.

Eating a Chola sandwich is a unique experience. The crunchy texture of the bun combined with the flavorful filling create an unforgettable taste.

Sharing Chola sandwiches with friends and family is a great way to enjoy Bolivian food and bond with loved ones. With some creativity, you can even adapt the classic recipe to create your own unique version of the Bolivian classic.

2. Pique macho

Pique macho

Pique macho is one of the best dishes typically found in Bolivian restaurants and is known to have originated in the city of Cochabamba. If you are a fan of French fries, this is your dish.

It’s a hearty combination of steak, fried potatoes, onions, tomatoes, and peppers served on top of French fries. Regional variations of the dish can include a variety of ingredients, such as fried egg, sausage, and other vegetables.

Popular recipes for pique macho also include a spicy chili sauce or extra chili peppers, which can add a bit of heat to the dish.

For those looking for a tasty and filling dish, Pique Macho is a great option.

3. Silpancho


Now that you’ve tried pique macho, it’s time to try Silpancho – a traditional Bolivian food served on a large platter with fatty ingredients. This giant plate is only served in Bolivian restaurants, and you will not find it at any local food stalls.

This dish consists of seasoned beef, potatoes, and rice topped with a fried egg, onion, lettuce, tomatoes, and a light vinaigrette. Regional variations vary from province to province, but the most popular ingredients remain the same.

Grab yourself a plate of Silpancho to share and a side of fried plantains with a cold beer when you are visiting Bolivia.

4. Majadito de charque

Majadito de charque

Try a traditional Bolivian food like Majadito from Santa Cruz, and you won’t be disappointed. Majadito is a popular dish made with smashed or tenderized beef jerky.

The beef jerky is soaked in water to soften and remove the excess salt before being tenderized. Then it is added to seasoned white rice in broth to cook.

The white rice picks up the flavors from the beef jerky and seasoning, giving the dish a unique flavor. This type of dish is usually served with boiled potatoes, rice, or plantains, and topped with a fried egg.

This typical dish of South America is a great source of protein and is highly nutritious. With so many different ways to enjoy it, Majadito is a dish you won’t want to miss out on.

5. Sopa de maní (Peanut soup)

Sopa de maní (Peanut soup)

Taste the deliciousness of Bolivian food with a bowl of sopa de maní (peanut soup). This French-inspired soup is one of the traditional dishes that is hearty and nutty, almost like a peanut sauce. It is a staple throughout the region, with many regional variations and flavor profiles.

It’s loaded with nutritional benefits, as peanuts are packed with protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The traditional preparation requires slow-cooking peanuts in a broth with a variety of vegetables, herbs, and spices. For a more complex flavor, some cooks add smoked meats, such as pork or beef, to the broth.

Enjoy a bowl of sopa de maní with some crusty bread and a boiled potato, and you’ll have a truly Bolivian meal.

6. Picante de Pollo (Chicken in Spicy Sauce)

Picante de Pollo (Chicken in Spicy Sauce)

Experience the spiciness of Bolivian cuisine with a national dish of picante de pollo (chicken in spicy sauce). This is one of the Bolivian dishes that anyone can make. It is made with chicken cooked in a thick, sauce of tomatoes, onions, garlic, and cumin. Preparing techniques vary regionally, from slow-simmered stews to quick-grilled sautéed dishes.

The traditional flavors of the sauce make it a favorite among Bolivians, and it has become popular throughout the country. This spicy chicken dish also offers many health benefits, as it’s low in fat and high in protein. It’s also a good source of vitamins and minerals that can be made with fresh natural ingredients.

Regional variations of the spicy chicken dish can be found in different parts of Bolivia, with each region adding its own unique spices to the mix. Popular recipes for picante de pollo can be found online, with instructions for creating this tasty Bolivian food.

Enjoy a plate of this traditional dish, and experience the traditional flavors of Bolivia.

7. Huarjata


Enjoy the bold flavor of Huarjata, a Bolivian dish made with potatoes, beef, and a variety of spices. The traditional preparation of Huarjata includes stirring beef, potatoes, and spices in a clay pot, then simmering until cooked.

Depending on the region, the dish can have regional variations, such as adding vegetables or changing the type of beef used. Not only is Huarjata full of flavor, but it also has many health benefits due to the vitamins and minerals provided by the potatoes and spices.

In Bolivian culture, Huarjata is a beloved dish that’s often served at special occasions or family gatherings. The cooking method for Huarjata is unique and special, making it a beloved part of Bolivian cuisine.

8. Jolke


Try Jolke, a Bolivian specialty dish made with beef liver, vegetables, and a variety of spices that is a favorite of local culture. This traditional food has many regional variations in Latin America, with each region creating its own unique recipe.

The health benefits of Jolke are plentiful as it’s packed with proteins, vitamins, and minerals. There are also lots of different flavor combinations that can be used when cooking, allowing you to create your own version of this dish.

It’s also a dish that has a strong social significance in Bolivia, as it’s often served during large gatherings and festivities.

In addition to these benefits, there are also some cooking tips to keep in mind when making Jolke. It’s important to use the right combination of spices to get the perfect flavor.

9. Thimpu de Cordero (lamb)

Indulge in the deliciousness of Thimpu de Cordero, a Bolivian traditional lamb dish. This classic recipe is prepared with a variety of ingredients, such as potatoes, carrots, peppers, and onions.

Traditional preparation of this dish involves slow-cooking the lamb with spices, which results in a flavorful and tender meal. Depending on the region, there are variations to this recipe, such as adding beer, raisins, and other flavorful ingredients.

The health benefits of the dish include high amounts of protein, vitamin B, and minerals. Thimpu de Cordero is one of the traditional dishes that is culturally significant to Bolivians, as it’s a popular dish typically served during religious and holiday celebrations.

10. Queso Humacha (Humacha cheese)

Have you ever tasted Queso Humacha, a Bolivian cheese made with cow’s milk and a variety of herbs? Queso Humacha is a delicious cheese that’s popular in Bolivian cooking. It’s made using traditional recipes and preparation methods, which give it a unique taste profile.

There are local variations of the cheese, depending on the herbs used and the cooking techniques employed. It has a mild flavor that can be enhanced by adding garlic or other herbs. It can be used in a variety of dishes, such as quiches, pizzas, and kinds of pasta, and can be served hot as an appetizer or main dish.

It’s an essential ingredient in many Bolivian dishes and is sure to delight anyone who tries it in Latin American countries.

11. Aji de Fideo (Spicy Noodles)

Bolivian, Aji de Fideo on white plate

Experience the spicy delight of Aji de Fideo of South America, a Bolivian tomato noodle dish with ground chili peppers.

When making Aji de Fideo, there are many spicy Bolivian salsa options to create with variations of tomatoes, onions, garlic, and peppers. A variety of cooking techniques can be used to make this dish, such as boiling, frying, and sautéing.

As for serving ideas, consider accompanying your Aji de Fideo with a side of rice, plantains, or avocado slices for a complete Bolivian meal.

12. Anticucho (Beef Heart Skewers)

Beef Heart Skewers on the table.

Taste the bold flavors of Anticucho, a Bolivian dish featuring beef heart skewers that will have you craving more. This traditional dish is an appetizer that is prepared in various different ways, depending on the region.

The heart skewer can be made with beef or llama meat. Typical dishes use beef that is marinated in garlic, onions, cumin, pepper, and other spices, giving it an intense flavor. The marinating techniques can vary, making it a dish that’s full of different flavors.

When cooking Anticucho, it’s best to grill the skewers slowly to ensure that the beef heart is cooked through without losing any of its flavor. Serving suggestions usually include a side of boiled potatoes or a salad with a squeeze of lemon..

13. Saltena (Baked Patties)

Bolivian Saltena (Baked Patties) on a wooden board

Treat yourself to a delicious Saltena, a Bolivian baked patty similar to an empanada that’s sure to tantalize your taste buds. Preparing saltenas is easy, and you can find many recipes online.

Regional variations of this traditional Bolivian dish exist, including spicy and sweet versions that are popular in different areas. Eating saltenas, such as potatoes, beef, and eggs, can offer some health benefits due to the ingredients.

Popular recipes combine these ingredients in creative ways to make delicious saltenas. Consider adding a side of salsa, a salad, or some bread. For a complete meal, enjoy saltenas with a glass of wine or beer to create a filling meal.

14. Leche Asada (Roasted Milk)

Bolivian Leche Asada (flan)

Try this classic Bolivian dish, Leche Asada (Roasted Milk), for a delicious and unique experience. This traditional dessert recipe is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

It has a unique flavor profile featuring the sweetness of milk, the nuttiness of cinnamon, and the warmth of cloves. The cooking method requires simmering the milk in a pot for several hours. Regional variations exist, with some recipes adding sugar, honey, or even raisins.

As with any food, Leche Asada has numerous health benefits. It’s high in calcium and protein, and low in fat. It also contains beneficial vitamins and minerals.

Food stalls in Bolivia often sell this well-loved dessert. Whether you find it local or make it yourself, this Bolivian treat is sure to satisfy.

15. Llajwa

Bolivian Llajwa. on a white plate

Try it for yourself and see why llajwa, a spicy sauce of tomato and chili pepper, is a popular condiment in Bolivia. Not only does it have a delicious flavor, but it also comes with some health benefits.

It’s traditionally prepared with tomatoes, onions, garlic, chili peppers, and salt. However, if you don’t have all the ingredients on hand, it’s easy to make a substitute with items you have in your kitchen.

Llajwa is widely used in traditional Bolivian cuisine and is often served alongside empanadas, tamales, and other dishes. It’s also a common condiment on the breakfast table. And for those who like to spice things up, there are variations of llajwa chili sauce that are made with an array of peppers to make it even hotter.

16. Api

Bolivian Bolivian Api.

Treat yourself to a refreshing glass of Api, a purple corn drink flavored with spices, perfect for summers in South American countries. It’s a traditional Bolivian drink that can be found in various regional variations, all with their own unique twists.

Api is known for its health benefits as a traditional drink, as it’s packed with antioxidants and is a great source of dietary fiber. It can be cooked in a variety of ways, from boiling to steaming.

You can find it sold at street food vendors or in restaurants. It’s also an important part of Bolivian culinary influences, as it’s a part of many traditional dishes.

17. Fried Yuca (Cassava)

Bolivian Fried Yuca (Cassava)

Indulge yourself in the deliciousness of fried yuca (cassava), and treat your taste buds to this staple food. Yuca frita is a traditional Bolivian recipe that has been enjoyed for generations. It’s made by deep frying pieces of peeled yuca or cassava, which has a starchy consistency and a mild flavor. When cooked properly, it has a crunchy outside and a soft inside.

Yuca frita is a popular side dish and is full of nutrition. It’s high in fiber, iron, and vitamin C, and is also gluten-free. When preparing yuca frita, it’s important to consider dietary considerations. For example, those who follow a low-sodium diet should be aware that frying yuca usually requires adding salt.

Additionally, traditional yuca frita recipes often call for adding a lot of fat, such as lard, which can increase the calorie and fat content of the dish. By using healthier cooking methods, such as baking or boiling the yuca, it can be a nutritious part of any traditional Bolivian dish.

18. Saice (Spicy beef stew)

Saice .Spicy beef stew on black background.

Experience the deliciousness of Saice, a spicy beef stew that has been enjoyed in Bolivia for generations. This traditional dish is made with a unique blend of Bolivian spices such as cumin, achiote, and chilis.

Recipes for this Bolivian soup vary by region, but the most common ingredients include beef, onions, potatoes, and a tomato-based sauce. Saice is both delicious and nutritious, providing a great source of protein and fiber.

Depending on the region, this Bolivian soup can also be served with hard-boiled eggs, avocado slices, and even fried plantains. No matter where you go in Bolivia, you’re sure to find a delicious version of saice. Whether it’s a traditional recipe or a modern twist, this spicy beef stew is sure to tantalize your taste buds.


Bolivia is a breathtaking place with beautiful landscapes and cultures. Bolivian food is so delicious and bursting with lots of flavors. Each dish consists of a story that is deeply rooted in history.

Pique macho and Majadito are great for those who like spicier dishes, while Silpancho, Yuca Frita, and Saice are perfect for those who prefer more savory flavors. Thimpu de Cordero is a real treat for lamb lovers.

These unforgettable dishes leave a lasting impression on the serene nation of Bolivia.

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One Comment

  1. I am surprised Saldeñas, Sopa de Chairo or Plato Paceño are not listed. I miss having Bolivian food so much.