McDonald’s opened its first restaurant in Bolivia on Friday, offering tea made from coca leaves - the main ingredient in cocaine - to wash down its big Macs and fries.
Hundreds of people stood in line to dine at the first international fast-food restaurant in this country of 7 million in the heart of South America. Along with the usual American fare, the menu makes a few concessions to local tastes, offering a Bolivian tomato sauce made from hot peppers and coca-leaf tea.
Although it is made from the same ingredient as cocaine, the popular tea has little effect other than to lessen the effects of high altitude. La Paz is 10,500 feet above sea level.
McDonald’s also plans to introduce a typical Andean dish of beef, potatoes, peas and hot peppers, all encased in pastry. It will be called McSaltenas.
McDonald’s, now present in 106 countries, plans to open four more restaurants in Bolivia in coming months.