12 11 2008

Food in Lima is quite simply delicious. It is often argued by many ex-pats living here that Peruvian cuisine should be ranked amongst the highest in the world. Were I to attempt such a ranking:

1) Indian 2) Peruvian 3) Italian 4) Thai 5) Mexican

That looked like an attempt, but anyway, my point is that Peruvian food is exquisite. It just hasn’t been recognised worldwide yet. Not too many Peruvians travel the world to start restaurants or spread the word of their cuisine, although one celebrity chef is attempting this at the moment. Another reason: Peruvians have no confidence in their culinary abilities and don’t often see the need to share recipes past those in their families.

For me, aside from my friends here, food has been by far the best thing about the city. One of my friends at work recently wrote an article for our news letter explaining why it is thriving. Another article in “The Examiner” argues that Peruvian cuisine is set for world domination. Here’s my own summary of reasons why Peruvian food is excellent:

1) Seafood is fresh. The Pacific Ocean swells to the east and the same point of the coastline that makes clouds build up during winter has the effect of shoring up (is that a palinism??) the massive variety of marine life that originates in the Pacific. Fishing boasts dont have far to travel before they can find a catch to bring directly back to the city.

2) Peru is biologically diverse – jungle, mountains, coast is the basic formation from east to west and within these areas are different climatic conditions where a vast variety of wonderful ingredients can be produced. Many types of Potatos in the mountains – endless fruits and vegetables in the Amazon – fish and seafood on the coastline.

3) Varied traditions – The Inca empire and those before it were renowned for successfully managing food production and distribution within Peru’s diverse climate range. Their traditions have since been built upon by the numerous culinary styles of people immigrating to Peru from across the world – Europe, China, other Latin American countries – to create a fantastic fusion of different flavour combination and techniques

Maybe the best thing of all is that this food is readily available. All over the city there are markets and restaurants that provide a good range of Peruvian fare for very little. Lomo saltado is a popular type of stir fry with beef, onions and peppers which is rich and flavoursome.  Some of the more expensive restaurants – still the same price as budget restaurants in Europe – have absolutely wonderful dishes, with fantastic creamy sauces poured over generous cuts of meat or crunchy shellfish served fresh in a marinade of lime and chili.

And then there’s aji. Peru wouldnt be Peru without aji. This is essentially chili sauce which can range from bright yellow to deep red to rose pink. It has a really full pepper flavour and can be mildly picante or burn your mouth out. I eat it every single day, with tasty chicharron (lightly fried pork) sandwiches or mussells or anything that i’m eating.

Which is anything here, because everything tastes good 🙂




One response

15 11 2008

mmm aji sounds great!

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