I’m going to say it, the street food in La Paz is hands down some the best street food in all of South America South America. Delicious delicacies abound on almost every corner tempting you until you cannot resist the urge any longer. Eddie and I both gained a few additional pounds in our short stay snacking through the streets of La Paz. Luckily the city is quite hilly making it easy to walk off all those yummy treats you have indulged in. Here is a list of our favorite street food in La Paz.
The choripan is a staple in the street food scene in La Paz. The choripan is a tasty chorizo sandwich loaded with lettuce, tomato, pickled veggies and topped with mustard, mayonnaise or both. Budget options are available for only BOB 3.50 just outside of the central Mi Teleférico station while fancy ones are found on the top floor of Mercado Lanza near Plaza San Francisco. Those found at Dona Elvira in Mercado Lanza are our favorite! These sandwiches will have your mouth salivating and begging for more. Trust me on this one!
Pasteles de Queso
Tell me someone who doesn’t love fried food, cheese and powdered sugar…I’m waiting. If you are like me and love all three, the pasteles de queso is the street food in La Paz for you. Fried right in front of you and served up hot, it is just the perfectly sized snack. The best ones are served up near the San Pedro prison. Make sure you grab while you wait around trying to snag an underground (and now illegal) prison tour.
Oh there is so much to say about this delicious street food in La Paz served up at breakfast time. Similar to the empanadas from Argentina, a salteña is a baked pastry filled with either meat, veggies or both and swimming in its own juices. It is slightly sweet as well making it the perfect accompaniment to coffee at breakfast time. Be careful not to burn yourself when devouring this specialty though. It is common practice to take a bite and then drink out the juice before finishing it off to ensure no injuries are sustained during consumption.
The tucumana is similar to the salteña but is fried instead of baked, doesn’t include all the juiciness and isn’t sweet. So not really that similar except in size and the fact that it is a common street food in La Paz. Tucumanas are normally offered as chicken, meat or veggie so they are suitable for all taste buds. The cheapest ones we saw were just outside of the Mercado Lanza at only 2 Bolivianos or about 25 cents a pop. Can’t beat a deal like that!
Sandwich de Chola
The sandwich de chola is another specialty in the street food of La Paz. A piece of pork brined, seasoned and roasted is served up on a sandwich topped with lettuce, tomato, pickled veggies and mustard/mayonnaise. Named after the indigenous women, the cholitas, who originally prepared the sandwich, this is definitely something not to miss.
You probably think I am crazy for listing popcorn as one of the best street food in La Paz. Maybe I am, but popcorn is one of my absolute favorite afternoon snacks. Nothing quite beats lightly salted, popped to perfection popcorn with a nice cold beer in the warm sun. Luckily for me the ladies in La Paz know how to get it just right (but don’t let Eddie know as he is the popcorn maker in the van). Enjoy a bag of freshly popped popcorn while roaming the streets of La Paz for as little as 2 Bolivianos and thank me later.