Pique a lo Macho - Gastro Obscura
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Prepared Foods

Pique a lo Macho

Can you finish Bolivia's enormous starch-and-protein explosion?

It’s a dish and a challenge. Pique a lo Macho is a meal so hearty and spicy that its very name claims only the most “macho” of men can finish it. 

The Bolivian meal, native to the valley city of Cochabamba, is a starch-and-protein explosion. Start with juicy strips of beef, savory sausage or hot dogs, french fries, and several boiled eggs. Then fry with onions, hot locoto or jalapeño peppers, tomatoes, seasonings, and a crisscross of condiments—usually mayonnaise, mustard, and ketchup. If it’s made properly, the beef juices soak the potatoes and peppers in a succulent bath. The resulting mountain of meat is somewhat similar to the Rochester, New York, favorite known as the Garbage Plate.

As with the origin stories of many filling dishes, the local legend of Pique a lo Macho involves hungry, drunk revelers and restaurant owners low on food. As the story goes, the owners assembled what they had into a pile of meat, potatoes, and chili peppers. That was the 1970s. Since then, the dish has become a Cochabamba favorite.

A word of warning: You may wish to devour the entire dish to show how macho you are, but Pique a lo Macho is really meant for sharing. Most servings will feed several people.

Need to Know

You'll find many restaurants that serve Pique a lo Macho in Cochabamba. It's also a classic late-night snack (when shared, that is) in cities like Sucre and Santa Cruz. Wash it all down with a cool glass of Taquiña, the national beer of Bolivia.

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Sam OBrien
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