South America Living

Oh Yeah….Salteña Time!

Salteña: Bolivian meat pie

Salteña: Bolivian meat pie

It’s no secret…I love to eat. Any meal of the day. Any time of the day. Or night. My all time favorite meal is a long, leisurely late lunch accompanied by wine.

I have counted myself as fortunate when I lived in world class cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Madrid where food eating, whether out, or in, is a 24/7 kind-of-a-thing.

I have freaked out when I moved to and lived for long periods in places like La Quinta, or Manhattan Beach, California, where way-back-when you were lucky to get dinner AND a movie. Usually you had to make a choice. Dinner OR a movie. You could not do them both. Not in the same night anyway. Making the dating scene stilted, awkward and weird.

Fortunately, in La Quinta, you can now get dinner AND a movie — as long as you are willing to have either one of the two critical component pieces of the evening take place before 5 pm.

I digress…

In Latin America, there are several meals scattered throughout the day and night. First, of course, is breakfast. And then there is lunch. Possibly tea. Then a light supper.

But the course in between breakfast and the mid day meal is quite possibly my favorite. It’s like a coffee break. Everybody takes one. The streets flood with students and day workers heading out to food kiosks. I call it “salteña time”.

Delicious salteñas are a traditional mid-morning snack in Bolivia

Delicious salteñas are a traditional mid-morning snack in Bolivia

A salteña is a type of Bolivian baked empanada or turnover. Salteñas are savory pastries filled with beef, chicken or pork in your choice of a slightly spicy or very spicy sauce containing peas, potatoes, eggs and raisins.

It’s a tradition to enjoy these meat pastries as a mid-morning snack. Typically salteñas are sold from 7am to noon. But plan accordingly as they often sell out by mid-morning. The volume of salteñas sold on any given day is astonishing.

Salteñas are a daily staple in Bolivia

Salteñas are a daily staple in Bolivia

So plan accordingly. Check out the stands with the longest lines.

And as always, Buen Provecho!

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