Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern

Season 2 Episode 5


Aired Monday 10:00 PM Apr 01, 2008 on Travel Channel

Episode Recap

Andrew is in Bolivia full of its historical sites and cultural references handed down from the Incans. He heads first to the Batallas Market full of animal vendors selling directly to the restaurants. At the La Casa Del Pacenas, known for spicy soups and sauces, he has lamb kidneys with fresh tripe, which he compares to cole slaw. He has bull penis soup with the flavor and richness of bone marrow and chan fina, the veins, lungs and kidneys mixed with onion, tumeric and spices. Onward to the Pronto Dalicatessan, Andrew meets the owner, Raul Urquizo and treated to carpacci le pezi, a dish of raw fish, lime and vegetables. He also has llama meat, tongue and brains with garlic sauce.

At the Rodriguez Market, Andrew meets local cook and caterer Vesna LaCost and is treated to salted pig's feet and lamb jerky. She also takes him to the Uruguay Market where almost everyone sells fried fish, chitlins and tripe. They pick a location to eat and try mocochinci, a peach juice with two different forms, light and dark. Andrew tries the darker version with peanuts and compares it to peanut butter milk. He also learns it is sometimes called booger. After more llama meat, it is off to the Mercado de las Brujas or "Witch's Market," which sells folk remedies and objects like llama fetuses for mystical ceremonies and rituals. Vesna takes Andrew to meet a yatiti, an Aymara community healer who uses a mili quaruai ritual to bless Andrew and improve his luck with cocoa leaves and a llama fetus.

Onward to the high plains or Altiplano for a view of the Andes Mountains, Andrew reveals that Bolivia is the birthplace of the potato. He meets farmer Hymie Turan to find chuno, potatoes that have been freeze-dried several times before peeled and cooked. Andrew and Hymie meet Emeterio Terez whose family is a fourth-generation potato farmer. Emeterio is their host showing Andrew how to peel the chuno potatoes underfoot, later commenting that Andrew is so heavy he crushes them. Chuno potatoes are often added to soups and stews. They are added to a meal of carrots, peas, fava beans and llama jerky, and Andrew has a good meal with his hosts that have him asking for more.

On to El Ato near La Paz, Andrew reveals that the bowler hats the women wear was introduced because a merchant with an oversupply of the hats sold them as women's wear. He meets photographer Evan Abramson from his old alma mater, Vassar College, to meet some cholitas or lady wrestlers named Juanita the Caring and Alicia. After examples of their wrestling , Andrew learns that popcorn, peanuts and oranges are sold at ringside as snacks, but they are mostly used for throwing. Jello snacks are sold for eating, and Andrew catches an amusing fair exhibition of the entertainment.

Andrew soon turns to the tropics where the weather is warmer and more humid close to the Amazon basin. An hour flight into Santa Cruz, Andrew meets restaurateur Alex Peredo. They pass a fruit stand and sample achachairu, also called mangosteen. At a Yacapari diner, Alex reveals the diner serves anything off the location such as armadillo or feral pig. The yard grows mangoes and limes used in the recipes. The whole family works the kitchen as Alex and Andrew have boiled and seasoned armadillo with home fried potatoes. Andrew also has the wild boar and appreciates it so much he wishes he could get it at home. Alex will send him home with some.

At 13,000 feet above sea level, Andrew is at Lake Titicaca, the legendary home of the sun-children, ancestors of the Incan people. At the town of Moca-Moca, Andrew is at an out-door buffet to celebrate the festival of, ironically, St. Andrew, the patron saint of fishermen. He meets Patricia Margain, a guide to the Andean culture and Pedro Flores, the tribal chieftain for a meal of trout, kingfish, chunos, quinoa dumplings made from a form of grass, corn, and cheese served off a wrap on the ground. The fish are served with the heads and eyes intact and includes a serious ceremony to bless the meal and everyone in it. The rituals are a blend of Catholicism and Incan tradition. Although the weather lightly threatens the picnic, Andrew muses that the sun comes out at the end of the prayer.