A Bolivian breakfast usually consists of a cornmeal drink called "api" and an "empanada" (a pocket of pastry filled with cheese and other ingredients). Many people take a mid-morning break to eat a "saltena". Saltenas are a national dish. They are pockets of pastry filled with beef or chicken, peas, potatoes, onions, olives, raisins and an egg.
Potatoes are important in Bolivian cooking. In rural areas, people preserve potatoes by laying them out in the sun and then stamping on them to remove all of the water. They leave the potatoes to freeze during the night. These preserved potatoes are called "chunos" and they last for months.
Corn and beans are also staples. Sweet popcorn called "pasankalla" is a favorite treat and people enjoy eating white corn called "choclo". Cassava and fried plantains are popular side dishes. Rice and a grain called quinoa are often eaten with meals or added to soups. Bolivians enjoy a wide variety of fruits, including prickly pears and chirimoya (custard apples).
Lunch is generally the most important meal of the day. People take long lunch breaks and many try to eat at home with their families. Lunch usually begins with soup, followed by a main course. During the afternoon, people may take a tea break and eat a pastry with their tea. Most families eat a small supper at night.