Thursday, 16 May 2013

Best Eats in Peru

When you think of Peru the one thing that comes to mind is Machu Picchu. It's what we came into the country for, to hike the Inca Trail and visit the world famous ruins. However Peru is so much more, what with it's amazing cities like Cusco, which is beautiful and unlike any other city I've visited. And more importantly the totes amazeball foods it offers. Peruvian food hasn't made it as big as Thai or Mexican in Sydney but once the introduction has been made you will fall in love. It's fresh, it's flavourful and big bonus - there's lots of seafood involved. Here are my top 5 Peruvian eats.

1. Ceviche
It's raw fish 'cooked' in a lime juice with garlic and red onion and often with  calamari, octopus and prawns. It's all I can think about eating whilst in Peru. It is the national dish after all and can be found in most places though it's best eaten in coastal cities like Lima. What's not to like about it? You get a massive pile of seafood for $10. It's a bit tangy, salty and chilli. Sounds a bit Asian doesn't it? Peruvian food has a lot of Asian influence and this one is a definite winner. My two favourite were in Punto Azul in Miraflores and Canta Rana in Barrranco. Comes with roasted corn which is completely addictive and wash it down with Chicha, a sweet drink made from fermented purple corn.
Me and ceviche go well together, at Canta Rana.
Corn condiments and popular drink, Chicha.

Ceviche at Punto Azul, Lima. Just right.

Ceviche sampler at Alfresco, Lima. Overpriced.

2. Antichucos
This is cow heart skewers and before you get all squemish on me don't forget this is a third world country and hence it's important to make the most of an animal. It's tender, salty and more flavourful than a traditional steak. Often sold on streetside stalls as an after work snack, this tasty kebab like dish is easy and delicious.

Cow heart skewers

3. Alpaca
You see alapcas everywhere in Peru so it makes sense that you can both wear and eat alpaca here. We had an alpaca steak at a fancy restaurant in Cusco as well as in kebab style in a small town in Bolivia.I preffered the herb flavoured kebab as the steak was a bit gamey to me but at least it was super juicy. A must try, at least once whilst you're here just for the fun factor.

Alpaca kebab, juicy goodness.
Alpaca steak getting all fancy at Limo, Cusco.
4. Nikkei food
Even though I haven´t seen a lot of native Japanese people here in Peru there are a lot of decent Japanese restaurants here but the most interesting are the Nikkei restaurants which is a fusion of Japanese and Peruvian flavours. With the abdundance of fresh sushi grade fish around, it makes sense. The best was at Maido in Miraflores, Lima. Fine dining without the pretension. 

Awesome sashimi

Tacuchaufa - signature dish made from tender pork and peruvian sauce.

5. Cuy
Otherwise known as guinea pig. This is a delicacy in Peru and is either bake or fried pretty much whole. It can be sold on the streets or even Peking style in fancy restaurants. Sadly we have yet to try this as we didn't want to risk diarrhoea before the Inca Trail and it's been a bit hard to find here in Lima. I hope to find it in Ecuador, I hear it tastes like chicken. But with less meat and more bones. This baked version we saw on the street but it also comes deep fried. More on it soon hopefully.

Looks appetising right?
One quick honorable mention is that I found a legit Taiwanese bubble tea place in Miraflores, Lima. Holy smoke! I was so amazed. This place was popular among the locals and I tried the green milk tea with pearls. Ahh, tastes like home. Peru you never cease to amaze me.

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