>> Beba's Restaurant | Eat the World Los Angeles

Monday 10 January 2022

Beba's Restaurant

Lincoln Avenue facade

COVID-19 UPDATE: The restaurant is fully open for dine in service and even has live music on weekends.

In cities of the United States with very large South American representation, there only ever seems to be a smattering of Bolivian food and people, as not nearly as many people have left that country to come here. Despite a nearby bakery in Santa Ana with salteรฑas and some Bolivian breads and another coffee shop in Van Nuys with more pastries and some full plates, Beba's in Anaheim has been the only full restaurant in Greater Los Angeles.

On weekends families from all drive-able distances descend on this over 25-year-old restaurant, piling out of minivans for large hearty plates of food and live music. The community seems tight knit even though they are spread out widely, coming together here at what could be considered the Southern California cultural center of Bolivia.

Full order

It might be difficult to find any Bolivian meals that do not include the country's unique and mighty salteรฑas ($3.99 each, below). These thick sweetened corn wrappers are full of soupy beef or chicken insides, and more sweetness from raisins, but are also deeply and satisfyingly savory. Its spices swirl with olives and potatoes and the meat of your choosing.

Be sure to bite into a salteรฑa carefully, keeping it vertical so as not to lose the scalding juices waiting inside. These are prepared and baked in a special way, with all the meat and insides being frozen after cooking so that when the pastry is in the oven, the juices do not ruin the wrapper. Thirty minutes or so later, by the time the salteรฑa is fully cooked, the insides are just right and ready to be slurped.


If you are a fan of soups made with hefty pieces of hominy, there will most assuredly be another to add to the favorites list when you try fricasรฉ ($13.99, below). This hearty stew is simply called "pork stew" on the menu, but has pork ribs and other large chunks as well as some choice interior cuts. The distinct color comes from the Bolivian yellow ajรญ, which also works slowly to build-up an intense but not killer heat as you progress.

While the broth may sometimes be thickened by breadcrumbs, it does not really need this as it is also full of potatoes and chuรฑo, a black freeze-dried potato variety used by high altitude Quechua and Aymara communities in the Andes. Fricasรฉ, for obvious reasons, has gained notoriety throughout Bolivia as an excellent hangover cure.


You can also get a taste for chuรฑo with an order of the falso conejo ($14.99, below), an interestingly-named dish that translates to "fake rabbit." While preparations of rabbit these days look nothing like this dish of thinly-pounded and breaded beef, its history comes about from the meat substituting for rabbit that is prepared in similar ways to what was common at the time.

The meat is soft, pulls apart easily, and is served with an enormous amount of white rice, more potatoes, and chuรฑo. You may see a variety of different salsas on top of this in other restaurants, but here they put a marinade in the beef and breading and top it with a variety of diced vegetables.

Falso conejo

What appears to be a tame tomato salsa is served on the side of most dishes and will probably arrive at the table at some point. Use this to add spice to your salteรฑas or other plates, but test drive it slowly at first because it definitely packs a lot more heat than it appears to.

While Bolivian foods do a pretty good job holding up for takeout and reheating, there is really no better experience than coming to Anaheim on the weekend to be surrounded by families and the pan flutes of traditional Bolivian music.


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