The Food of Cochabamba
June 1, 2016
We didn’t have any preconceptions about the food of Bolivia or, in this case, specifically of Cochabamba. We had heard about Pique Macho, but didn’t know exactly what it was. What we discovered is that meals in Cochabamba were larger than we expected. Not just the Pique Macho, which is known to be a huge plate of food, but every meal that we were served were huge portions. The other thing we found was that every meal was served with an extremely spicy salsa, which is eaten on garlic bread as well as over top of the meal itself.
We ordered a half order of the Pique Macho to share and still weren’t able to eat the whole meal. Almost every meal included potatoes, usually cooked as French fries, and sometimes it would include both potatoes and rice. We like to share meals anyway, but we found that we couldn’t finish almost any meal while we were in Cochabamba. Later, when we went to La Paz, we found that the size of the meals and the quantity of food eaten in Cochabamba was larger than in other parts of the country. They are extremely proud that all of the food is locally grown and Cochabamba is considered the gastronomical center of Bolivia. Unlike Peru where fusion food is everywhere, Bolivia seemed to just beginning to embrace fusion food to raise the bar of traditional Bolivian food.
We also found that Bolivia produced pretty good local beer and wine. We always want to enjoy as much of local and traditional food and we definitely ate some interesting meals. We did a ton of walking while we were in Bolivia, which probably was good since the meals were so heavy. At some point we’re going to try and make our own version of Pique Macho here at home, but clearly not as large of a portion. It is basically a pretty simple dish of beef, hot dogs (sausages), tomatoes, peppers, onions, potatoes, and in some cases boiled eggs. Despite the fact that it is considered a traditional Bolivian dish, we saw it prepared differently at various restaurants, so it seems that it is more of style than a very specific dish.