The 5th edition of Lima, Peru’s annual food festival Mistura is now underway. Here is your primer for getting in, getting around, and getting something to eat:
The Crowds and the Lines:
Even though this year Mistura, South America’s largest food festival, has been moved form the Parque de la Expocision the more spacious Campo de Marte in Jesús María, there will be an estimated 600,000 attendees this year, which will ensure a large crowd each day of the event. For the first day, the crowds didn’t arrive until the afternoon. Once they arrived, you could easily spend an hour waiting. By the second day the line for Pan con Chicharron from El Chinito was 100 deep by 11am, though most other stands didn’t pick up until around noon.
The Best Time to Go:
Weekends are definitely the time to avoid (unless you make it early) while weekdays, especially before 4pm are ideal. Come right when they open and know what you want. If you want pork (Chancho al Palo, Chanco al Cilindro, Chancho de la Caja China, etc) get it early, as these tend to be the longest lines, with one hour+ waits buy the late afternoon.
What to Eat:
There are a lot of restaurants this year. A lot. This year, there has been a strong push for the carretillias, the food carts, coming from market stalls and small restaurants from all across Peru. These are places with traditional dishes and time-honored traditions that many Limeños don’t know exist. Just today I had a ceviche made with charqui and ice cream made from quinoa. There is also a wide variety of options, from some formal restaurants in Lima to a bar designed from an old combi.
-9 regional restaurants
-53 food carts
-15 rustic kitchens
The Gran Mercado:
Three hundred and fifty artisanal producers from every corner of the country are selling everything from chocolate and pisco to roasted sacha inchi seeds and maca root. Pay special attention to the papas nativas and Andean grains.
Instead of the paper tickets and cash used in years past to buy food at the restaurants and carts, this year you can buy food with rechargeable plastic cards (as well as cash and credit cards).
From Peru – Hajime Kasuga, Virgilio Martinez, Astrid Gutsche, Giacomo Bocchio, Diego Muñoz
From Outside of Peru: Roberta Sudbrack (Brazil), Quique Dacosta (Spain),Massimo Bottura (Italy), Paco Torreblanca (Spain), Eneko Atxa (Spain), Daniel Ovadia (Mexico), Dan Gilmore (Australia), Joan Roca (Spain)
When: September 7-16
Where: Campo de Marte, Lima, Peru
Admission: 20 soles for adults, 10 soles for children.
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.