Friday, April 15, 2011

Food-Loving:: Bolivian Food.

So for those of you who frequently read or happen to follow my blog know that Bolivia has a special place in my heart and is a truly unique place to me. I don't know for how long I've had this desire to have some good Bolivian food, but unfortunately there really isn't any great Bolivian restaurants here in the Pacific Northwest. So I did some internet research on Bolivian food in Florida.

Restaurant Boliviano

And to my amaze I found a restaurant (Las Americas) that specializes in Bolivian cuisine in Little Havana, Miami. Eeek! I couldn't wait to try just about everything that was on the menu.

Restaurant Boliviano

I had invited my mom to dinner and was truly excited about this because she has never had any Bolivian food other then the anticuchos (grilled beef hearts) I had made at home. Needless to say it was quite a feast. We started off with some salteñas-- a type of Bolivian baked empanada. I know I have mentioned in previous posts my love for these. Perhaps, I should try to make some on my own and share them on the blog.... what do you think?


Looking over on the menu I noticed that one of the soup specials for the day was sopa de mani (one of my favorite Bolivian soups), but the waitress soon informed me that they had just given another table the last order. So we ordered some bowls of sopa de quiona instead. Quinoa is a tiny yellow grain that is grown in the Bolivian highlands. An interesting little fact: the Incas held the crop to be quite sacred and actually referred to the quinoa as chisaya mama or "mother of all grains", the Inca emperor would traditionally sow the first seeds of the season by using "golden implements".


I wanted my mom to try a typical dish from the city of Cochabamba (side note: Cochabamba is definitely one of my favorite cities in Bolivia). This dish known as silpancho has quite a few different layers. The bottom of the plate consists of a base layer of rice, which is then followed by layers of potatoes, on top of all this is a super thin schnitzel-style meat, which is then covered with yet another mixed layer of chopped tomato, onion and parsley. All of this is then topped with either one or two fried eggs. Let me tell you when I first encountered this meal at Palacio del Silpancho in Cochabamba I was left a bit speechless and wasn't quite sure how I would finish it all. Las Americas Restaurant didn't disappoint.... it was pretty close in flavor to what can be found in Bolivia.


Plus we also had some pique macho, which is a meal that consists of chunks of beef, sausage (hot dog type) plus french-fry cut potatoes and to top it all off sliced boiled eggs, tomatoes, onions, olives and jalapeños. The entire dish is then finished with ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard. Typically in Bolivia instead of the jalapeño, a locoto pepper garnishes the dish. This pepper is primarily found in Central and South America.


Along with the meal we had mocochinchi - a dehydrated peach cider. This is probably one of the (if not THE) most served beverages in Bolivia. You can find it in any region of Bolivia and is surprisingly quite sweet. In Bolivia you'll see this sold on street corners and in parks and plazas, usually in large glass jars, along side other drinks such as chicha and somó. So as you can tell that it was quite the feast and it definitely helped fill that craving I had for Bolivian food.


Anonymous said...

You mentioned all of my favorite Bolivian foods. Plan to make a trip from San Francisco to FL to try the restaurant, thanks!

Derek Bender said...

I lived in Bolivia for seven years as my parents where missionaries there. I see the pictures of salteñas and piqué macho and my mouth waters and brings back memories. I live in Tampa and unfortunately there is no Bolivian restaurant here. Maybe I will do a trip to Miami. I miss the food a lot!! Thanks for sharing.