Chicken soup, you say? Doesn’t sound that exciting, does it? Well in the cold capital of La Paz it certainly is, because the age-old frothy broth is universally accepted to be the perfect antidote for those icy winter blues.
Since being posted on Facebook in June, the heartwarming clip has racked up a staggering 2 million views, a notable achievement considering the entire population of the urban area in question is about the same.
The viral video was created by local filmmakers Ají de Video, a play on words of the popular Bolivian dish aji de fideo (spicy noodles). Most of their work doesn’t revolve around food, however, but rather the everyday lives of locals in the working class Pasankeri neighborhood, which rests on the hills between El Alto and La Paz.
The lady in question is the irresistibly likable Doña Helena, a Bolivian Aymara who wears traditional cholita garb. She appears to be coping quite well with her newfound fame, making live appearances on local TV stations such as Red Uno.
Yet the question remains: how could a tutorial for chicken soup conquer Bolivia’s cyberspace?
Doña Helena herself is undoubtedly the star of the show. With an endearingly high-pitched voice and a smattering of Andean slang, she is the quintessential elderly Aymara and the archetypal Bolivian abuelita (grandma).
Of course, it is indeed quite cold in La Paz, and her newly famous chicken soup may well be the perfect dish “para combatar este frio,” (to fight the cold) as she herself proclaims. Her recipe, which consists of chicken, chopped veggies, a little bit of rice (not too much), and llajua (Bolivian hot sauce) certainly does look the part—all lovingly prepared in a traditional clay pot.
Last but not least, Ají de Video have demonstrated excellent production values, especially considering they are a small-scale amateur collective. Bolivia’s mainstream TV industry could certainly learn a thing or two.
So what’s next for superstar Doña Helena?
Fans have been begging for more, so don’t be surprised to see an encore of adorable video recipes on a Facebook feed near you.