Everyone dies. Not everyone truly lives. -William Wallace "Braveheart"

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Flavors of Peru

This is at one of the Chifa (Chinese) restaurants in Lima.  All of this food was about $4.00 and I'm talking drinks and everything! You can eat like a king in Peru for a couple bucks and the food is not only abundant, but it's DELICIOUS! Every time we go to an overpriced restaurant in Atlanta and our $50 dinner is brought out and we mistake it for a complimentary appetizer we look at each other, sigh, and think "Man I miss Peru."
Being such a food enthusiast, I was curious what the food would be like in Peru.  You may think me closed-minded, but I was thinking it would be similar to Mexican food.  Alejandro told me the one type of food I wouldn't find in Peru was Mexican food. 
The first night we went out for dinner in Lima I asked Alejandro to take me somewhere that had authentic Peruvian food and he took me to this hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant I was confused and I little disappointed to say the least.  It would be like going to Italy, asking a local to take you somewhere with authentic Italian food and them taking you to a burger joint.  You would think "I can get this back home" but you, like me, would be wrong.  The Chinese food in Peru has a completely different flavor!
In fact, Peru was full of culinary suprises around every corner...literally! You wake up to the sound of a man on a bicycle toting a wagon full of the freshest fruits and vegetables you have ever seen, as you walk through the streets you pass vendors peddling, giant ears of corn, tamales, fresh baked breads, hole-in-the-walls with food presented in a way that you would have thought you had spent $40 a plate.

Here are my suggestions for things you must try in Peru:
1. Ceviche
2. Seco de Carne
3. Lomo Saltado
4. Chifa
5. Aji de Gallina (Alejandro's Favorite)
6. Papas a la Huancaina
7. Cuy
 (if you go to Cusco; Note: it can be a bit pricy, but I suggest you go to a restaurant that knows how to prepare it. Otherwise you will end up gnawing on a charred cuy chew toy that has no meat on it like I did :-)
8. If you want to eat something else different try Corazon de Vaca (Cow Heart) you can get it at an anticucho stand on the side of the street, but I didn't care for that too much.  I DID, however, like it at this sandwich place called Pavo's in Lima, which brings me to the next thing you must try...
9. Subs - they are like a meal between two pieces of bread, different from anything you can find in the states
10. Alcoholic Drinks: Pisco Sour & Cocktail de Algarobina
Non-alcoholic: Chicha Morada & Jugo de Maracuya
11. Also, grab a Granadilla fruit from a local market
(crack it open and slurp out the juicy seeds. Not the most beautiful fruit in the world, but definately one of the tastiest)


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