Compared with Mexican or even Brazilian, Peruvian food is one of the least explored in terms of cookbooks – at least in the English language. There is an increasing amount of excellent culinary literature being produced in Peru, though outside of the region readers are limited to just a few books. This list includes the best selling books for sale in both English and Spanish.
Twenty-three kilometers south of Mancora on the north coast of Peru, El Ñuro is a tiny artisanal fishing village with just a few hundred people. Being near the confluence of warm equatorial waters meeting the cold Humboldt Current, the diversity of fish being caught here is incredible. It’s is not far from Cabo Blanco, the fishing village that once attracted the world’s top big game fishermen, including Ernest Hemmingway, who came in the 1950’s while filming the Old Man and the Sea.
At Lima, Peru’s annual gastronomic festival Mistura you see some odd products. In the events 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, as well as a rainbow of colorful quinoas and native potatoes.
Javier Wong, the chef owner of Chez Wong in Lima, is one of the most legendary chefs in Peru. His restaurant isn’t fancy, far from it. It’s in one room of his house, in the rough and tumble district of La Victoria not far from a line of auto repair garages. There’s no menu. He serves a ceviche, always using Pacific sole; enormous ones.
Now that he has more than thirty some restaurants set in a dozen countries, many of which are fusion concepts like Chinese-Peruvian or Italian-Peruvian, I sometimes forget just how revolutionary Gastón Acurio’s original restaurant, Astrid y Gastón in Lima, was and continues to be. I don’t think I will make that mistake again.
I woke up to the sound of waves just outside my window. My eyes weren’t open yet, but I felt the tropical breeze give me a morning kiss. Slowly, as if curious, early sun rays filtered themselves into my cosy seaside cabin and a delicious smell of wood and saltwater gently filled my nostrils. I peeked lazily from under the covers and caught a glimpse of the deep blue sky. Waves splashed, I grinned – this definitely wasn’t Kansas anymore!
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 Ica region is Peru’s leading grower of grapes, with the area around the city of Ica itself being the epicenter. Pisco, a sweet aromatic grape brandy is produced here, as well as wine.
Recently there has been some debate about the spelling of ceviche. In Peru, ceviche is generally spelled either cebiche or ceviche. Cebiche with a B is more typical in Lima, though with a V is more common nationally and especially internationally. Some think it should be spelled with an S, as Seviche. I don’t. Here’s why.
If you happen to grab a bite in Peru’s Amazonian region and come across plates of yellowish balls served all around you, don’t panic! It’s nothing out of the ordinary, just one of the most wonderful dishes Peruvian cuisine ever invented. Served in every village, town and city in the jungle, tacacho is part of a strong gastronomic tradition that still remains a secret to the rest of the world. Although Peru has been enjoying a culinary boom for the past few years, its Amazonian region hasn’t gathered much international attention. However, it’s a solid gastronomic identity simply craving to be discovered.