The Salteña is an oven baked empanada (similar to a pastie) stuffed with beef, chicken, peas, potatoes, olives or eggs, and drowning in a sweet and sometimes spicy sauce. Legend has it the name comes from a woman from Salta (Salteña) who moved to Bolivia and cooked the most delicious empanadas. See if you can finish one without spilling sauce everywhere, a point of pride for many locals. Paceña la Salteña is the best place to go for this popular breakfast treat.
Tucumanas have similar fillings to Salteñas but a much thinner, deep-fried pastry and no internal sauce. To make up for this, a variety of multicolored sauces are offered by the vendor including chimichuri, peanut and spicy llajawa (a tomato based chilly sauce popular in Bolivia). These are applied generously after each bite so the diner can enjoy a different flavor with every mouthful. Tucumanas are a particular favorite of students due to their affordability. A series of street stalls known as Tucumanas del Prado undoubtedly make the city’s best.
While they can be eaten at any time of the day, Buñuelos are especially popular first thing in the morning. These deep fried, donut fritters come with either a savory cheese filling or are smothered in sweet honey. Buñuelos are sometimes made from tortilla discs and flavored with sugar or cinnamon. Found in almost any market around the city, they provide an awesome energy boost to kick start the day. They are considered to be a symbol of good luck throughout the country.
It doesn’t get much more Bolivian than Api. Typically consumed early in the morning, this piping hot, traditional, hearty drink is made of ground corn (sometimes purple corn), a touch of pineapple, water, cinnamon and sugar. It goes down great with Buñuelos and is available virtually everywhere, although Api Happy serve the best in town.
Pan Con Queso
This the preferred breakfast for any Bolivian on the go. It translates as ‘bread with cheese’ in English, and that’s exactly what you’ll get – a locally made bread roll and a slice of cheese. On a budget? This go-to morning staple costs only BOB$3 (USD$0.43). It tastes pretty much the same everywhere, but check out the top floor of Mercado Lanza for an authentic Bolivian dining experience.