Lima, the gourmet capital of the world
The Peruvian food was for me love at the first bite and I knew in exactly the same moment that once I reach home I will dedicate an entire post to this subject and maybe even more…starting a new topic on my personal blog.
The very first review about food
My whole life I was passionate about food, finding a real pleasure in tasting different dishes all around the world, especially the “weird” ones, often disgusting my travel companions with my exotic gastronomic curiosity .
So call me cruel or heartless but the first thing that was on my menu list when I planned my trip to Peru was the Cuy (guinea pig). The little cute animal, used as a pet in Europe (I owned one as a child) its actually a pricey delicacy in Andean region and often found in the restaurant’s kitchens to satisfy the appetite of the curious foreigners while the locals cook it for more special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries.
I took me a whole week to convince my friend to join me to one of the restaurants that serves Cuy in Lima, a touristic place located in Calle de la Pizza, just few meters away from our hotel.
While I ordered the famous Fried Cuy (probably the most expensive option from the menu-around 20$) she went for more westernized meal choices but nevertheless…truly delicious like everything else in Peru.
I have to admit that it looks absolutely disgusting and scary but the taste it has nothing to do with its appearance. The meat its very tender, similar with the chicken and the skin its crispy and chewy. A must try while in Peru!
Its the guinea pig actually a pig?
The answer is…no. The guinea pig its categorized as a rodent, being basically a mouse or an oversized hamster. Even if it has “pig” in his name, the cute animal is not a swine which makes him “halal” for my muslim friends.
Another delicacy in Peru its Alpaca, the fluffy South American relative of the camel.
Even though this type of red meat is lower in cholesterol than chicken and higher in protein and iron than the beef, it wasn’t one of my favorite dish, the meat being hard to chew and tasteless.
Conchitas a la parmesana
The dish that truly won my heart and that can be added on a daily basis diet are the fresh scallops in their sea shells covered by a tick layer of parmesan cheese (two of my favorite ingredients). The good news is that delicious as it is, conchitas a la parmesana its also very easy to cook: add parmesan on top of fresh scallops and bake it in the oven for few minutes.
Choritos a la Chalaca
The Peruvian style mussels has its origin in the Port of Callao but won its popularity as one of the best national dishes when it comes to the sea food. It can be served cold as appetizer and its basically a salad containing lot of delicious ingredients perfectly mixed inside of a shell: fresh mussels, red onion, corn, tomato, lime, salt and pepper, parsley, olive oil and white wine.
Once I was back from my trip to Peru I had the curiosity to try one of the Peruvian restaurants in Abu dhabi, “Limo bar” located in Bab al Qasar hotel. I chose the Chef’s special menu and asked the waitress to suggest the chef, Choritos a la Chalaca which were not in the menu. The chef Luis was so surprised and intrigued that someone ordered a national Peruvian dish that after he prepared the delicious mussels he left his kitchen in order to meet us.
Probably the most popular dish in the Pacific costal regions of South America with a hotly debated origin, the delicious Ceviche its considered a Peruvian national dish by many and it consist of raw fish (usually sea bass) marinated in lime juice, onion, chili peppers and other ingredients depending on the chef’s creativity.
I am not big fan of raw fish but I decided to give a try to the famous Ceviche in one of the best sea food restaurant in Lima, “Alfresco” and I was not disappointed at all. It tasted absolutely delicious, the acidity of the lime being responsabile with the cooking process of the fish, without using any heat and resulting in the best raw fish dish I ever had.
This type of Peruvian kebab has been part of the gastronomical history of Peru since the colonial times winning his popularity among the locals and the tourists on both sides, being cheap, easy to prepare and great as snack on the go.
The most famous version is Anticuchos de corazon made, as the name suggest, from grilled beef hearts. It might not seem a romantic dish but in reality it contains a lot of aphrodisiacs like garlic, oregano, cumin and chili peppers which can raise the level of romance from the first bite.
I tried Anticuchos twice during my stay in Lima: first in a famous restaurant in Barranco district “Ayahuasca bar” and the second time in the airport, before departure and in both cases I really loved it!
Soups in Peru
Before traveling to Peru I had the wrong idea that my country (Romania) had the widest variety of soups. I couldn’t be more wrong! Sea food, chicken, traditional creole, quinoa soups and much more, they all taste absolutely heavenly.
Aji de gallina
If you are a poultry lover you must definitely try the creamy mixture of chicken stewed with parmesan, nuts and spices. Don’t get scared of the high number of ingredients, Aji de gallina is actually a dish with a low level of complexity and can be easily cooked in any kitchen of the world.
The last but not least, a healthy meal option during my stay in Lima was the avocado. There is something really special about the avocado in Peru, having a much more creamy and delicious texture than anywhere in the world. Part of the breakfast, salad ingredient or just a take away sandwich, avocado its truly great in any given situation.
I would like to end our virtual dinning experience with few delightful options of dessert.