“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Eating my way through Peru

Peru is a country of amazing foods, and before I came here I was shown this article:

Top 10 Things to Eat in Peru

The top 10 are

1. Ceviche (Seafood salad)
2. Cuy (Guineapig)
3. Causa (Avocado and potato casserole)
4. Lomo salteado (Asian fusion)
5. Aji de gallina (yellow pepper)
6. Anticuchos (skewered meat)
7. Rocoto relleno (stuffed pepper)
8. Alpaca
9. Lucuma (a fruit)
10. Pollo a la brasa

I would also add that everyone needs to try the pisco sour (which, believe it or not includes raw egg), the local beers such as Cusquena, and Inca Cola (nasty looking yellow stuff!).

I made it my mission to sample as many of these foods as I could while I was there. #1 Ceviche's easy -- tried that before in Colombia. It's a cold seafood salad with vinegar. I enjoyed my Peruvian one on the sea front in Paracas after the spectacular boat ride out to the Islas Ballestas.

It took me a while to get up the courage to order #2 Cuy, and finally did from a small place behind the main church in Arequipa. Boy, did I sorely regret it. Whole head (little teeth and all!), lots of grease, slimy picking of tiny cute wee bones. Yuck! And it's expensive, too. Then, the next day in the Canyon del Colca, it was offered as part of a big buffet -- didn't need to have ordered it specially after all!

I didn't specifically try #3 Causa, #5 Aji de gallina, #6 Anticuchos, or #9 Lucuma but #4 Lomo Salteado was quite common -- a certain way of cooking meat, and I'm sure the Aji must have been in something I ate...

#7 Rocoto Relleno was definitely delicious, but must admit that when I had that meal, I preferred the stuffed chicken that came with it -- no less for the Rocoto, but more for that chef's other dish!

It's really not that hard to eat #8 Alpaca -- it is a common meat in Peru like lamb, beef or chicken is elsewhere. Quite a nice meat, but needs a bit more cooking as it can be quite a tough meat. #10 Pollo a la brasa -- just ordinary grilled/fried chicken. I thought it was unremarkable other than the fact that it's everywhere.

So... some good and some bad. This is why it is so interesting to travel!

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