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Where's Jonny? Care to dine with me? You would think that 11 years of daily food tasting for a living might put me off?......au contraire! Chomp away with me across 6 continents. Seduced like a bloodhound to the scent of good food, I anticipate the misty waft of steaming broths, the satisfying crunch of mudbugs and the vibrant aroma of freshly pulverised lemongrass. Buon appetito

Care for Guinea pig?

PERU | Monday, 8 October 2007 | Views [2264]

Cuy al horno (roasted guinea pig) must be one of Peru's most famous or notorious dishes depending on your viewpoint.  It is however, a delicacy found mainly in the Highland regions, so don't go ordering it in Lima unless you want to eat some kids pet.

The national dish of Peru is Ceviche, which is actually a method of cooking without using heat.  Typically using fish, the "meat" becomes lip-smackingly tender using acidic fruits like lemons, limes and oranges.  A common dish is, ceviche a la trucha (trout) or closer to the coast, using scallops, kingfish or crustacea. 

Peru's climate combines a long coastline with huge, tropical zones and arid, mountainous areas.  This makes for a distinct, interesting and varied cuisine.

In the mountainous areas of Cusco, Puno and Arequipa you can try Alpaca (Lama-type animal) the wool of which is used in many knitted garments.  Delicious cooked, a la parilla (barbecued) or a la plancha (griddled) it is reminiscent of pork and beef.  The sierra is also the place to try, Pachamanga, an ancient Inca method using a hole in the ground and layering meat, vegetables and potatoes on top and covering for 4-5hrs.

Starchy foods are common here and explain how the peoples manage to work in such harsh conditions.  Many meals come with two carbohydrates, for instance, rice and potatoes or fried yuca, a dense, translucently white root, similar to a yam.

Of course, Peru is famous for potatoes.  There's an institute in Lima with over 4000 varieties, but the most popular is Olluco, a small yellow and purple tuber which accompanies many dishes.

Observant European shoppers will have noticed that Peruvian Asparagus is available for many months of the year.  Both green and white are grown and used in soups and salads and make your urine reek.

Sweetcorn is the other vegetable used extensively across Peru.  Like potatoes there are many varieties.  You can eat the choco (yellow variety of huge kernels) simply boiled.  It has little sweetness, a thick skin and more starch than a laundrette.

Tamales are found everywhere in Peru and come as a pocket of smooth, starchy corn, bits of chilli and a meat filling.  Sometimes the Tamale will be reformed to resemble a sweetcorn shape and wrapped in the husk.

A must try is Chicha (sweetcorn beer) there is a type that looks like Ribena (chicha Morada) but actually uses purple a sweetcorn variety whereas the opaque, Chicha Jora uses yellow types.  Seved in a glass with a handle you will see many Peruvinas getting lashed on the stuff.  If thats not your thing then try a Cristal beer, the cerveza del Peru.

There are some red and white wines produced in Peru although not as well established as the stuff from Argentina and Chile.

Cancha, tiny dried sweetcorn kernels coated in salt are often served with ceviche or as a bar snack.

The tropical zones provide all types of exotic fruit.  Gigantic Papayas, bananas, passion fruits, Grenadillos, custard apples, melons and strawberries are typical. 

Even more exotic fruit and nuts like Camu Camu and Cocona can be found in or near to the jungle.

Deserts are good too.  Try Crema Volteada if you enjoy  a light creme caramel or try one of the many cake on offer.  Interestingly, simple cakes can be seen at breakfast time and eaten with the coffee.

Tags: Food & eating

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