Sunday, June 13, 2010
Meat, hot dogs and French fries in Bolivia
On my last night in Bolivia I had grown tired of Bolivian food. To be fair, I was tired of it after approximately 6 hours in Bolivia. I've been traveling for 8 months now, and for all of it I've been eating almost exclusively local cuisine. In Bolivia, though, I gave up quickly on local fare and shamefully, started eating at tourist restaurants. I was eating spaghetti more nights than I wasn't. Even that was turning sour though, when I was most recently served a bowl of stringy egg noodles with a sauce that most closely resembles Kraft's Macaroni and Cheese "Cheezy Sauce" while claiming to be amatriciana.
The cuisine of Bolivia appears to consist almost entirely of meat and French fries. I've been traveling with a vegetarian recently, a member of the group my father famously refers to as "liars." My new pal has been a vegetarian for many years, but decided to forgo the disorder while traveling in South America due to the complication of sticking to a vegetarian diet. We now go from restaurant to restaurant while I look in vain for anything sans French fries or containing a green vegetable while she happily tucks into meals that consist of meat and potatoes with a side of meat and French fries and meat. This is my sort of vegetarian.
On my last night in Bolivia we went to the Alamo in Tupiza. The place was decorated like a tourist restaurant, and reports claimed that they served pasta and Mexican food (a surefire mark of tourist-only clientelle). But when we sat down and looked at the menu, there were only a few things on it. All meat, and all costing between 10-15 Bolivianos (less than $2). The Mexican food and pasta had been taken off the menu, the prices were half of the tourist joints down the street and the large majority of the tables were occupied by bona fide Bolivian families.
I wasn't pleased to be dragged into yet another meat shack, but when I was told that one of the dishes was stir-fried, I decided to go for it and was pleasantly surprised. They called it "migas." Unfortunately I didn't get any great pictures because of the lighting, but as you can see it's a masterpiece in terms of aesthetic sensibilities and contained an entire serving of vegetables. It was the first meal I had in Bolivia that I felt pleased with, and I secretly relished the squiggles of mayo on the beef stir fry. The vivisected hot dog with a dollop of both ketchup and mustard as a centerpiece was a particularly appreciated touch.
The Alamo, Calle Avaroa 703, Tupiza, Bolivia