When you visit Bolivia, expect to enjoy cuisine that is made from only locally grown ingredients as well as prepared with traditional cooking techniques. The recipes may not be solely traditional, but you will certainly get a taste of what inhabitants have been eating for centuries. It is important to remember that you can not judge your cuisine by appearance, because each dish is prepared in such a way that it is unique and satisfying.
Gustu is a well known restaurant in La Paz that has focused on highlighting much of the food found only in Bolivia. They source all of their products directly from cities in the country as well as the Amazon, Andes, and Altiplanos. Unique dishes are created based upon the foods that are available, and many of the products are not found in local markets. This practice has allowed the restaurant to create many sensational dishes that even locals are not familiar with.
Many of the ingredients have not been collected or harvested for centuries, and Gustu is working to bring back recipes that utilize ancient ingredients. The head chef believes that to keep these ingredients alive is like gold, and that they are the identity of all Bolivians. Gustu is not the first restaurant to incorporate ancient food ingredients or cooking practices, and every restaurant can agree that their cuisine helps instill a sense of pride in the natives of Bolivia.
There is some debate in regards to the food being similar to food found in other countries such as Peru. However, the chefs that prepare items such as quinoa and potatoes know that their soil presents a unique flavor for the foods found in Bolivia. A combination of the high altitude and salt content in the soil are the main factors that ensure the products are exclusive to the country.
With the addition of cooking techniques such as underground ovens, Bolivian chef’s can guarantee a cuisine that is like no other in countries around the world. These cooking techniques have been passed down for generations, and not every inhabitant has been taught these ancient techniques. The food is unique in texture, balance, and presentation; however, the flavor of the food is traditional. This unique combination of the past and the present allow chefs to create some of the most phenomenal dishes that locals and visitors have ever tasted.
Many of the chefs agree they are not trying to recreate dishes, but rather, they are using products in such a way that allow them to present something innovative in the culinary world. The best chefs use recipes from their childhood, although they make adjustments for ingredients that are available today. This allows them to bring back old traditions as well as celebrate new ones, and their ingenuity is setting Bolivian cuisine apart from many other countries around the world.