Mani Soup

Sopa De Mani

Tilcara was the last place we stopped in Argentina before crossing the Bolivian border. We arrived late at night and left early the next morning, leaving little time to enjoy the dramatic mountainous landscapes and rich aboriginal culture. Feeling too lazy to take advantage of the kitchen in our hostel, we headed out in search of local restaurant offerings. Lola Mora was our third stop, luring us in with their Sopa De Mani, peanut soup.

As we traveled through Northern Argentina, we heard about peanut soup from locals and other travelers. Knowing it was made from blended peanuts and usually made with vegetable stock, we were excited to try this traditional Argentinian dish. After placing our order, we tried to imagine what it would be like. Would it be thick like peanut butter? Having gone weeks without our favourite spread, we hoped for something similar. Turns out, peanut soup barely tastes like peanuts. It borders on the edge of thick and creamy, with most of the taste coming from the vegetable broth. It has a gritty texture, with some small clumps of blended peanuts. The most interesting component of the soup was the papas fritas, small french fry sticks, that floated on top. They added a bit of substance and some nice texture.

Anden Potatoes with Rosemary and Olive Oil

Andean Potatoes

Our second dish was almost as surprising as the first. It’s not often you receive exactly what the menu promises. The menu read “Andean potatoes with rosemary and olive oil”. Well, that’s certainly what we got. The small Andean potatoes were cooked but served cold with a modest amount of the oil and dried rosemary.

Eating at Lola Mora was a truly bizarre experience. However, it did feel authentic and I’m glad we gave it a try.

Vegetable Market

Tilcara Fruit and Vegetable Market

Having split the soup and potatoes, John and I went to bed hungry. Our grumbling tummies woke us up early the next morning and pulled us towards the local farmer’s market. We found an amazing rainbow of options, bought some fruit for next to nothing and returned to our hostel to wash our finds. After breakfast, we made some rice and lentils to take on the road. We prepared ourselves for the long bus ride to Tupiza, looking forward to our first stop in Bolivia.