Patrick HiegerAsk most any chef across South America, even the ones who go deep into the jungle or to the highest of peaks in search of exotic, foraged goods, and they’ll tell you that their local city market is a staple in their country’s, their city’s cuisine. Santiago has the Vega Central. Lima the Mercado Surquillo. Bogotá has the blocks-wide Palo Quemao with an equally impressive flower market outside. And nestled deep in the heart of South America, dead center in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, is the Mercado Abasto Sur, a sprawling behemoth of a market that showcases the incredibly rich biodiversity that, in the last few years, restaurants throughout Bolivia are starting to show off as they push to become the next “it” country in South American cuisine. Spend even an hour traipsing through the labyrinthine stalls and rooms full of everything from hundreds of varieties of potatoes, bananas, and plantains, to exotic fruits, live chickens, meat on the grill, and much, much more, and you’ll see just why Bolivia has been getting their fair share of press lately. And why they deserve it.