At Hotelier, a small hotel on Las Pocitas beach in Mancora, Javier Ocampo, the son of now retired TV chef Teresa Ocampo, becomes excited whenever anyone wants to chat about Peruvian food. In the mornings he goes spear fishing, later serving what he catches. At least once a week he cooks a pig in a metal barrel, a style of cooking called chancho al cilindro. First he makes a rub of pureed aguaymanto (Cape Gooseberry), lime and pink salt from the Sacred Valley village of Maras, and then massages the pig with the sauce. “Then you flip it over and pour all the sauce and blood that has leaked on the bottom and pour it back over the pig.” The skin is beautifully crispy and a little fruity, more Pacific Rim than Andes. He follows the pork, which is served with locro, a type of squash that often makes an appearance in northern dishes, with a bowl of ice cream, that he made himself, flavored with algarobbina, a thick syrup made from the algarobbo tree found in the region’s dry forests.
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.