Salteñas are the essential Bolivian breakfast pastry, consisting of a subtly sweet dough filled with saucy meat, vegetables, and sometimes egg, sealed with a braid, and baked.
Pasteles de queso are fluffy pockets of sweet fried dough filled with squeaky white cheese and dusted with powdered sugar. They’re often paired with api morado, a hot, spiced drink made from purple corn.
The chola, La Paz and El Alto’s traditional sandwich (named for the country’s indigenous women, who often serve them), is a pile of soft and crackly roasted pork shoulder, pickled onions and carrots, and ají chile sauce on a bun.
Ocas, Andean tubers that look like wrinkled fingers and taste like a sour potato (at right), are red, yellow, or sometimes a tie-dyed peachy pink. They’re one of hundreds of tuber varieties found in Bolivia’s Highlands.
Chuños are potatoes that have been repeatedly freeze-dried over the course of frigid Highland winter nights, and then stomped on and freeze-dried again. Something of a survival food, they’re a bit funky, like a potato truffle, and will last a decade in a root cellar.
Ulupica peppers’ minuscule size—similar to a small cherry pit—belie their heat (very spicy) and importance (as the progenitor of all capsicums).
Coca leaves are sun-dried, then chewed or brewed as tea for energy, appetite suppression, and—for the Altiplano tourist—to ease altitude sickness. They’re sold by women often seen sucking on a cheekful of coca themselves.