Food and Drink

FOOD AND DRINK

The rivers and forests surrounding Rurrenabaque are bursting with delicious and exotic fruits, vegetables and fish, and much of the produce you will find in Bolivia is cultivated locally and organically, making it a fabulous destination for food lovers.
Two typical dishes of the region are pescado en tacuara – literally “fish in bamboo”, or dunocuabi – where the fish is wrapped in leaves. Freshly caught and cooked on open fires, these are popular in rural communities, and you may get the change to see them being prepared – and eat them! – on your jungle tour. More standard fare here includes cheap and filling almuerzos – set lunches, consisting of soup followed by meat, chicken or fish served with rice and vegetables. Other cheap and tasty snacks include empanadas – deep-fried pastries filled with cheese, or salteñas – packed with juicy vegetables and chicken or meat, and often a little sweet.

Other Bolivian specialties you may find on the menu include:

• Cuñapé – a cheese and cassava (yucca) bun
• Tamales – ground maize, often with meat or cheese, wrapped in a leaf as convenient take away meal.
• Pacumuto – large chunks of grilled beef, accompanied by rice with cheese.
• Surubí – local catfish
• Pacú – local river fish
• Majado/majadito – shredded meat served with rice
• Locro – a thick soup, usually with chicken
• Gallina criolla (con arroz) – local chicken (with rice), generally much tastier – and tougher! – than regular chicken
• Horneados – individual bread rolls, often sweet or baked with anise.
• Rosca de arroz – Rice bread filled with cheese.
• Miel de caña – sugarcane juice. This can also be mixed with milk and made into chancaca – a hard candy slab made with milk, peanuts or orange juice.
• Those who venture into the jungle or the pampas may find themselves eating freshly caught piranha, either roasted or made into soup. It’s tasty, but mind the spines! Or for the really brave, try a cooked grub!

Dishes here are usually accompanied by boiled or fried plantain and rice. Look out for the jar of pickled onions and chillis – they are exceedingly hot! Wash it all down with one of the ubiquitous jugos. These juices are made with fresh, seasonal fruits mixed with bottled water or milk – a delicious, healthy and refreshing treat in the tropical climate.