Saturday, August 1, 2009

Last Peru Post: Food

I had an interesting relationship with Peruvian food, in the sense that I was sick more often in Peru than any other place I have traveled. And I have traveled to much less touristy places than Peru. When I finally got home, I was sick again for a day and half- this time off of plane food. Being sick from food makes the idea of writing a food post less than appetizing, which accounts for the delay in this post. Despite that, all in all, the food in Peru was mostly tasty, although sometimes rather disgusting and stomach-churning. So I have decided to rate the following Peruvian foods on a scale of one to five, five being mighty tasty and recommendable, and one being repulsive.

Ricotto Relleno *****

A pepper filled with marinated meat and cheeses.
Inca Kola ***
A bright yellow soda that tastes similar to bubble gum. Not my favorite taste, but definitely worth a try.
Chicken Milanesa ***
A thin fried patty of chicken. Safe, but not too flavorful. You will notice that almost everything is served with french fries.
Papa a la Huancaina **
Potatoes with a creamy yellow sauce. Worth a try, but not very delicious. Served as an appetizer before an entree.
Cuzcena beer **
Following in the footsteps of every other Latin American country I have been to, the beer selection in Peru was lacking, but not lacking in the lager department, of which there were many choices that all tasted a little more flavorful than water. But hey, it's beer.
Alpaca ****
If you read this blog throughout our travels, you probably saw pictures of living Alpaca. This is a dead one. Tastes like beef. Pretty good.
Pisco Sour *****
A nice alcoholic beverage that tastes a little like a margarita, but a bit more sour with a little bit of froth at the top. Very flavorful and refreshing.
Ceviche *****
Fish in spices with lime drizzled on it. Delicious.
Seafood *****
Lima is known for its great seafood dishes. This was one of my favorite meals of the entire trip. Shrimp, fish, octopus, in a spicy, creamy delicious sauce. Savory. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it now.
Kebab Wrap *****
This is tied with seafood as my favorite type of food I ate in Peru. Kebabs are amazing. I have eaten them in many countries and have never been disappointed. If you have never had one, you should quickly look up Middle Eastern food on yelp and run out and buy one. Very delicious. Also known as the carne asada burrito of the Middle East.
Picarones **
Donuts that taste a little pumpkin-ish, drizzled in a maple type of sauce. In my opinion, they didn't taste very good, but they are not repulsive, so they are worth a try.
Suspiro ***
A mixture of dulce de leche and meringue. Extremely sweet, but fun for a few bites.
Picante de Cuy = death
No stars for this dish. Peruvians and foreigners both rave about the crunchy, chewy, thick skin of the guinea pig, and then the reward of the soft, tender flesh once you make it through the skin. My experience of tasting this was one of trying to keep myself from feeling nauseous with unsuccessful results. It is worth a try just so you can say you ate guinea pig. And I hope that you have a pleasant experience. I definitely did not.
To read Matt's review of eating guinea pig, go here. He is funny and much better with words than I am.
And if you are tired of eating in Peruvian restaurants, you could just buy food at a market:

Other notable foods in Peru that receive five stars from me but did not make it on the camera:
-Trout (I have never like it in the U.S., but in Peru it is fresh and flavorful.)
-Soups (Many meals come with a soup for a starter and all of the soups in Peru are delectable.)
-Juices (Almost every restaurant serves fresh juice for an inexpensive price. They blend it on the spot for you. Sometimes it is a little more like a juice and sometimes a little more like a smoothie- whatever you end up with is always delicious!)

That's my story of food in Peru. The good, the bad, and the ugly. And the guinea pig was mighty ugly.

Needless to say, there were certain food dishes I was really looking forward to coming home to like:
- bean and cheese burrito (specifically from Saguaro's, my favorite)
- sushi
- red wine
- fruits and veggies

And I have since eaten all of those things, and they made my taste buds very happy.

Now I am leaving the country again for the last time in a long while. Tonight I fly to Costa Rica for my last master's class. It will be at the United Nation's University for Peace and is entitled: "Educational Leadership for Peace and Sustainability." The class title pretty much combines all of my passions, so I am excited, and I get to hang out with five of my cohort-mates for the week, which will be fun.

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