A Taste of Bolivia

Dr. Alvaro Encinas enjoys a second helping of  silpancho .

Dr. Alvaro Encinas enjoys a second helping of silpancho.

Written by Betsy Station

After a day of hard work in the hospital, one of the great pleasures—and privileges—of a mission trip is breaking bread with our Bolivian partners. More than bread, of course, a typical meal may involve breaking open a delicious salteña (meat pie) or savoring one of the country’s infinite varieties of potato.  

Dr. Alvaro Encinas, missioner and Solidarity Bridge board member, says Bolivian food “has the taste of my childhood.” Growing up in Chicago, Encinas, the son of Bolivian immigrants, remembers his maternal grandmother cooking classic dishes like sopa de maní (peanut soup) every Friday afternoon.

The cuisine of his boyhood still has a powerful pull. “Every time I go on mission, I eat too much,” says Encinas, a family medicine practitioner and president of the Bolivian American Medical Society. “One simple dish can have so many varieties and ways to prepare it.”

Enjoy this slideshow for a virtual taste of Bolivia, featuring favorites from the Cochabamba region.