Saturday, October 13, 2012

Bolivian Food Festival

This weekend in La Paz is the Bolivian Food Festival - a festival of food products and meals for sale that celebrate the diversity of foods from across Bolivia. The Bolivian government does a very good job of promoting locally grown products that are natural and/or organic. Just last week there was also a 2-day fair of natural food products in the plaza across from my work. Local products include quinoa, amaranth, honey, varieties of potatoes, llama meat, dairy products like cheese and yogourt, coffee, and marmelades from local fruits.

Here are some photos from the Food Festival:

There was a small section of local products for sale. I really liked these baskets because they are colourful and unique - haven't seen others like them in Bolivia.

There were different types of entertainment including this marching band which very typically Bolivian.

Stalls of local food products for sale

Some of the many varieties of potatoes in Bolivia

More potatoes - they have so many different shapes, textures and tastes. Who knew? I thought I liked all potatoes until I found ones here that I don't like :(

These are like sweet empanadas with pumpkin inside and icing on top.

This stall sold quinoa yogourt and quinoa spread, like dulce de leche, or caramel spread. Wow, there are so many incarnations of quinoa here in Bolivia.

Have no idea what this vegetable is - it will be my mission to find out ;)

These are cardboard cutouts of traditional dress and foods from various parts of the country  - this dress and food here is typical of Potosi. Not what people would wear normally anymore, but what people would wear to represent the region at an event or in advertising to represent a region.

Representing the state of Beni, which is in the north and is more tropical

Representing the state of Tarija in the south east part of Bolivia. Tarija is known for it's vineyards and wine.

Plato Paceno - the typical La Paz dish. Quite simple - boiled corn, potato, and beans, with fried cheese and some beef.

My friend and I ordered our without beef! I actually enjoyed it despite that there is no seasoning at all. The cheese is quite salty.

Walking home, I passed a fast-food restaurant that serves typical Bolivian food. Here you see food from the Andes region Bolivia - ispi (fried small fish), plato paceno (the dish I have photographed above at the festival), and charquekan (dried, shredded meat, usually llama or beef).

Yup, some of these foods are an acquired taste, but here you have a bit more insight into local, traditional Bolivian foods.