After the last post about cuy, here’s a traditional dish I enjoyed much more.
Picana is a slow-cooked soup eaten at midnight on Christmas eve in Bolivia. It is made with various types of meat, beer, wine, potato, corn and other vegetables (recipe here). We ate this one in Sucre last year and it was the perfect meal for a cold evening. The broth was rich and spicy and with all that corn and potato it was certainly filling. I barely had space for the buñuelos that came after for dessert.
Yes, that’s pho. Yes, you can get it in La Paz. And yes, it’s good. Really good.
We discovered Vinapho shortly before Christmas. The sign for a Vietnamese restaurant had been up for ages, but since the premises showed no sign of life we assumed it was old and had been closed down a while. After a Game of Thrones marathon, we needed sustenance and headed out in search of food. And there it was, Vinapho, open and waiting to feed us delicious noodle soup.
The menu has changed a little since they opened. They now offer two sizes of pho as well as fried rice noodles, spring rolls and hotpot. They no longer give you a small dish in which to mix your soy sauce and chili. I’m guessing it’s because the waitress had to constantly explain to unenlightened Bolivians how to do it.
They also sell Korean beer and soju. I’m not sure why. The pho tastes better than at the Vietnamese chain restaurants I used to eat at in Seoul. It tastes almost as good as the home-made pho I used to buy from the tiny Vietnamese restaurant in Taiwan.
A word of warning: Since March, there was a sign in the window saying they were closed for two weeks for renovation. I’d been putting off publishing this post until they opened again, which has finally happened now that it’s June. Let’s hope they stay open now.
Address: Sanchez Lima (next to Hipermaxi supermarket) just off Plaza Avaroa.
Try more Asian food in La Paz at Corea Town and Chifa Dragon.