Something that can be found all over Bolivia (and, as it turns out, a lot of the rest of South America) is the idea of a set lunch. For between one and two dollars, you can sit down and have a full lunch (or dinner, sometimes, though lunches are much easier to find). You start with a big bowl of soup, usually sometimes relatively simple but filling like quinoa soup or peanut soup or soup with noodles or something like that, then move on to the segundo, or main dish. Options can vary from one single dish to a variety of choices. Again, they’re made to be filling – a lunch can be soup with noodles followed by meatballs and onions over potatoes and rice, as in this picture (three carbs!) – and they definitely achieve that. Chris often ordered only the soup or the segundo despite the fact that they were almost the same price together or apart, as both were just too much for her in one sitting.
Sometimes you could get simple, non-complex dishes like roast chicken or a slice of beef or delicious sausage if you didn’t feel like delving into unknown dishes, but other times you could still sample regional fare rather cheaply. I tried tongue one afternoon and Chris grew to like saice at the end of our time in Sucre.
However you cut it, set lunches are a fabulous and cheap way of eating like the locals and also a great way to try dishes out that might cost you four or five times as much a la carta.