Bolivian Chefs Create the World’s Largest ‘Sándwich de Chola’

A hundred chefs in Bolivia crafted a massive ‘Sándwich de Chola’ over two days, celebrating La Paz’s culinary traditions and ingredients, showcasing a two-meter-diameter sandwich to promote local gastronomy and unity.

In an impressive culinary feat, a hundred chefs from Bolivia came together to prepare the world’s largest ‘Sándwich de Chola,’ a beloved traditional dish of La Paz. This extraordinary event, which took place over two days, culminated in the presentation of the massive sandwich, measuring over two meters in diameter, in front of an enthusiastic crowd in La Paz. The initiative aimed to honor and promote the city’s rich gastronomic heritage, highlighting the unique ingredients and cultural significance of its traditional cuisine.

The ‘Sándwich de Chola’ is an iconic La Paz dish perched at 3,600 meters above sea level. It is enjoyed in upscale restaurants and humble street food stalls, beloved by locals for its delicious flavors and cultural significance. On this particular day, the chefs showcased their culinary skills and celebrated the unity and pride of the people of La Paz through their shared love for this traditional dish.

A Celebration of Culinary Heritage

The grand event occurred at the Plaza del Estadio Hernando Siles, where the colossal sandwich was assembled and distributed to over five thousand attendees. The atmosphere was festive, with traditional Bolivian dances and martial music adding to the celebration. Chef Rodolfo Guzmán, one of the promoters of the event, emphasized the importance of preserving and showcasing the culinary traditions of La Paz. “The significance of this event is to safeguard and display our culture and cuisine,” Guzmán told EFE. “We want to protect our ingredients and products and bring people together, setting aside politics for a moment.”

Chef Guzmán also illuminated the origins of the ‘Sándwich de Chola,’ tracing it back to the 20th century. “It was created by women in traditional pollera skirts who needed a quick meal,” he explained. They started making a pork sandwich with pickled onions or escabeche, and it became known as the ‘sándwich de la chola’ from there.” The dish has evolved but remains a staple of La Paz’s culinary scene.

Promoting Local Economy and Culture

The event was about breaking records, boosting the local economy, and promoting Bolivian gastronomy to a global audience. Eliana Paco, a councilwoman of La Paz and one of the event’s promoters, invited people from other countries to try the city’s cuisine. “The ‘Sándwich de Chola’ is an accessible, soft, delicious, and fresh dish because of the pickled vegetables,” she described. Paco highlighted that promoting local gastronomy helps stimulate the economy, from bakers and farmers to street vendors who sell these sandwiches.

Paco also mentioned that events like these are made possible by municipal law 495, which promotes seven specific dishes and declares July as the month of La Paz’s gastronomy. These dishes include fricasé, sajta de pollo, and the ‘Sándwich de Chola.‘ The law supports various culinary events and activities, ensuring that the rich food traditions of La Paz are celebrated and preserved.

The creation of the world’s largest ‘Sándwich de Chola’ was a collaborative effort involving culinary students, professional chefs, bakers, and local farmers. This unity demonstrated the community’s commitment to promoting and preserving their gastronomic heritage. Chef Guzmán reiterated that the event was about more than just creating a giant sandwich. “This was done to reclaim our gastronomy and to show that we are capable of great things,” he said. “It reflects the simplicity and warmth of the people of La Paz in savoring our food.”

The massive sandwich included traditional bread, roasted pork leg, pickled vegetables, and a spicy red ají sauce, all topped with crispy pork skin. These ingredients highlight La Paz’s flavors and represent the city’s culinary history and cultural identity. The event organizers hope this record-breaking sandwich will earn La Paz global recognition and promote its rich culinary traditions.

A Feast for Unity and Heritage

Creating the world’s largest ‘Sándwich de Chola’ in La Paz was a remarkable celebration of Bolivian culinary heritage. It brought together a community passionate about their culture and cuisine, showcasing the city’s traditional flavors and ingredients on a grand scale. The event served as a reminder of the power of food to unite people and preserve cultural identity.

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As La Paz continues to promote its gastronomic traditions, the story of the ‘Sándwich de Chola’ stands as a testament to the city’s rich culinary history and the enduring spirit of its people. This extraordinary event highlighted local chefs’ talents and reinforced the importance of preserving and celebrating cultural heritage through food.

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