BOLIVIAN: Saya Salteña, Washington, D.C.
Bolivian empanadas, or salteñas, are typically enjoyed in the mid-morning, and traditionally feature a sweet dough filled with a savory mix of chicken or ground beef, potatoes, slices of hard-boiled egg and pitted olives or raisins. What makes salteñas particularly distinctive is their stew-like interior — think of them as the soup dumpling of empanadas Gelatin is added to the filling, keeping it solid when the salteña is being prepared but causing it to liquify while baking. Salteñas can also be identified by their football shape and braid-like seam that runs across the top of the pastry, as well as their light orange crust due to the addition of achiote in the dough. At Saya, owner Maria Helena spent years perfecting her recipe in order to recreate the salteñas she grew up eating in her hometown of La Paz, Bolivia. Available for delivery and pickup, Maria offers two flavors: a Beef salteña made with ground beef, potatoes, English peas, Kalamata olives, hard-boiled egg, and the Andean, a vegan Salteña with quinoa, mushrooms, potatoes, English peas and Andean spices.