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… Read More →
While Tiradito is a Nikkei invention (Japanese Peruvian), it’s not only a Nikkei dish anymore. Tiradito is served in some form – usually several – in nearly every cevicheria in Peru. A cousin to ceviche, tiradito is more thinly sliced, much like sashimi.
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 first the pelican was standing on the beach. As I walked by it just stared. As I sat at Donde Teresa in Mancora, my hotel restaurant, I could still see it standing there. Five minutes later some dogs came close to it and started barking. Young dogs. They didn’t know any better. I chased them away. Five minutes later the pelican was dead. The sea was washing over it.
Over the next two weeks while traveling along Peru’s northern coast, before any of the news reports of mass pelican deaths, I saw them again and again in Zorritos, Mancora, Pimentel, Santa Rosa, and elsewhere. There were some healthy pelicans it seemed. They would fly together over the surf or hang out near fishing piers. The healthiest I found were at Caleta el Ñuro, where fishermen were tossing out their leftover catch and scraps off the pier before it was packed on ice and taken away by truck to markets around the country. Hundreds of sea turtles fought for the scraps with the hundreds of pelicans here, though at many other piers the catch was lighter. La Niña has lead to warmer waters and some say the shortage of food has left the pelicans dying of starvation, though that period is in the process of returning to normal. I can’t say the dying pelicans l encountered looked starving. More sick than skinny.