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A Rich and Peppery Bolivian Brisket Sandwich Impresses in Brooklyn

This traditional South American sandwich makes for a satisfying meal at Bolivian Llama Party

The brisket chola at Bolivian Llama Party, with wisps of pickled carrot sticking out of the roll and brown meat.
The brisket chola at Bolivian Llama Party

It is my intention to celebrate the sandwich this year by finding as many tasty examples as possible, with a special emphasis on fringe styles, but also presenting sandwiches that were considered more normal 30 years ago that now seem quaint. I will do this weekly and periodically present round-ups of the ones I consider best.

South America is a continent of sandwiches, some partly inspired by European and American models, though many are not. There’s the wonderful Venezuelan patacón, a breadless assemblage from Maracaibo with the sandwich filling smooshed between two stiff boards of fried green plantain; and the bauru, a Brazilian roast beef sandwich smothered in melted mozzarella. Argentines and Uruguayans have their distinctive lomitos, and please don’t forget the Chilean chacarero. But the subject of today’s column is a sandwich found in the Bolivian capital of La Paz.

The chola, or sanduíche de chola, is named after the indigenous and historically marginalized women of Bolivia, who wear a colonialized costume of bowler hat and colorful woven shawl. The sandwich is a specialty of the street stalls in the La Paz park called Las Cholas, where it is often made with pulled pork, pickled vegetables, assorted roughage, and a yellow hot sauce called aji.

Brooklyn’s branch of the Llama Party
Brooklyn’s branch of the Llama Party

Three competing cholas ($11) are offered at the Bolivian Llama Party near downtown Brooklyn at Gotham Market at the Ashland, a food court. There’s a version that includes three types of pork (shoulder, belly, and bacon), and another that presents similar flavors and textures with vegetarian caramelized jackfruit. But the one I like best features roasted brisket rubbed with spices that include locoto, a tiny pepper native to Bolivia.

The beef turns out crusty, rich, and peppery, and the shredded escabeche carrots add a sweet and sour highlight to the sandwich. Aioli, crumbly cheese, and purple onions round out the flavor profile. Despite its relatively compact size, the brisket chola makes a satisfying meal. 590 Fulton St., between Ashland Place and Hudson Avenue, Fort Greene

Bolivian Llama Party interior

Bolivian Llama Party

44-14 48th Avenue, Queens, NY 11377 (347) 370-9102 Visit Website