Archive for comida criolla

Peruvian Gastronomic Journey at Hilton Tokyo

Posted in Cuisine & Dining, Cultural Scenes, Events, News, Lifestyle with tags , , , , , , on July 14, 2012 by Sustainability Guru
Peru Gourmet promotion featuring top Peruvian chefs Javier Ampuero & Jose del Castillo

Peru Gourmet promotion featuring top Peruvian chefs     Javier Ampuero & Jose del Castillo

Last 2009, during the Peruvian Food Festival in Tokyo we honored the Guest Chefs Pedro Miguel Schiaffino & Toshiro Konishi at the Peru Embassy with comida criolla creations by our in-house Chef Percy Bustamante. This time, on our third year here in Tokyo, we are delighted to be part of the Peruvian Gastronomic Journey inaugurated at the Hilton Tokyo, this Festival month of July to kick off  the various celebrations of Peru’s National Day in Japan.

Photo courtesy of Noticias Nippon

The Chefs with Promperu Rep Camila Garcia & Peru Ambassador in Japan, Elard Escala

Hilton Tokyo and PROMPERU (Tourism Promotion Peru) jointly feature a special event, entitled ‘Fascinating Peru – Gourmet & Cultural Promotion’ for the sixth consecutive year at the Hilton Tokyo’s Buffet Restaurant ‘Checkers’ from Saturday, July 7 to Monday, July 16, 2012. During this event, guests  have an opportunity to feast on a wide range of authentic Peruvian dishes on the lunch buffet (3,900 JPY) and dinner buffet (6,000 JPY) specially prepared by Mr. Javier Ampuero Figueroa  and Mr. Jose del Castillo, guest chefs from Peru while enjoying traditional Peruvian drinks. Peruvian folklore’s live is available on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and a national holiday.

All photos courtesy of Noticias Nippon

Ceviche, Causa Limena and lotsa comida criolla!

Heir to ancient cultures from the time of the Inca Empire, Peru is a magical spot which involves one of the richest biodiversities on earth, along with ten world heritage sites including ‘Machu Picchu’ and the ‘Nazca Lines’. It is known for extensive Andean ingredients including potatoes, tomatoes, corns and chili pepper as well as botanical products and herbs that have high nutritional value and distinctive qualities. Try the emblematic Peruvian appetizer ‘Ceviche’, seafood and onion marinade with lemon and a traditional Peruvian dish ‘Lomo Saltado’ which was adopted into Chinese – Criollo Cuisine, stir fried with beef, tomato and potato. After the meal, delightful Peruvian sweets such as mousse using lúcuma, native Peruvian tropical fruit, ‘Mazamorra Morada’ made from purple corn and more will be available.

Superb iconic Peruvian desserts: Mazamorra Morada & Arroz con Leche

Superb iconic Peruvian desserts: Mazamorra Morada &   Arroz con Leche

To complement the culinary delights, Peruvian wine ‘Tacama’ very rare in the Japanese market, will be offered along with a wide range of Peruvian drinks such as ‘Chicha morada’, ‘Pisco Sour’ and ‘Inca Cola’. Beverages are available with an additional charge.

Ain't no Peru fiesta without Peruvian Pisco, wine and Inca Cola!

Ain’t no Peru fiesta without Peruvian Pisco,                           wine and Inca Cola!

Next on our agenda, is the Peruvian Festival in Kobe, Japan!

All photos courtesy of Noticias Nippon.

JOIN PERU DREAM TRIP  by Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco Pioneer and Conservation Leader since 1975; 100% Carbon Neutral travel and stay, any day departure. For more information and travel assistance to Peru, contact us. 

Craving for Comida Criolla

Posted in Cuisine & Dining, Cultural Scenes, Events, News, Lifestyle, Lima, Peru, Travel with tags , , , , , , on September 7, 2010 by Sustainability Guru

In celebration of MISTURA 2011, Peruvian Food Festival and Latin America’s biggest gastronomy event, I am reposting this blog entry about probably the best cuisine in the planet!

PROVECHO (bon appetit)!!!

 Each Latin American country has its own “Comida Criolla” (pronounced kri-o-ya) as the phrase which means “home-grown food” historically stems from native mixed with Hispanic flavors.

 For Peru, “Comida Criolla” is basically concentrated where the Spanish conquerors along with their native-African slaves have settled, followed by Chinese and Japanese migrants thus, “Comida Criolla Peruana” is essentially Andean-Spanish-Afro-Peruvian food with Chinese & Japanese influences. Talk about fusion and multitude of menus! Comida criolla peruana is popular mostly along the coast, especially in Lima and the Central region.

Peruvian Comida Criolla, are basically served with Salsa Criolla (julienne onions marinated in lime with chopped chilies) seasoned, topped or served with Peruvian  Aji Amarillo (yellow) or Rocotto– red chilies.

Tamales- corn dough wrapped in banana leaves

To start, typical breakfast fares are Tamales (corn dough seasoned with chilies, stuffed with olives, chicken or pork and wrapped in banana leaves), Humitas (the same as tamales, but wrapped instead in corn husks, with Andean cheese or  the sweet version, with manjar-caramel) Chicharron,  deep fried pork slices on country bread or Butifarra – pork ham sandwich – all served with Salsa Criolla.

Papa a la Huancaina, Peruvian Potato salad in chili-cheese sauce

Papa a la Huancaina, Peruvian Potato salad in chili-cheese sauce

Cold enticing entradas (appetizers) include the popular Peruvian potato salads, namely Papa a la Huancaina , Ocopa and Causa, of course the all-time favorite Ceviche or Tiradito and the classic salad of Solterito, mixed vegetable salad of fava beans, choclo serrano (Andean corn kernels), olives and fresh cheese with its light lime vinaigrette.

Causa, Peru's version of mashed potato

Causa, Peru’s sophisticated & scrumptious version of mashed potato

Anticucho by Chef Percy at the Embassy of Peru in Tokyo

For Hot Starters, popular preferences are Anticuchos (grilled skewered beef hearts) served with boiled potato, corn and chili sauces; Rocotto Relleno (chili red bell pepper stuffed with ground meat and topped with melted Queso Andino -Andean cheese) and Papa Rellena (meat stuffed mashed potato and deep fried like croquettes). During the long coastal winter (Fall, Winter and Spring all rolled in to one grey foggy cold season), savory soups such as Chupe de Camarones (Cray fish chowder), Sopa a la Criolla (angel hair soup in chili broth with ground meat) and Caldo de Gallina (chicken soup) are the favorites.

Arroz con Pollo at Miraflores Restaurant in Shibuya, Tokyo

Top main courses, are Aji de Gallina (shredded chicken in creamy yellow chili sauce), Seco de Pollo or Cabrito (chicken or baby goat meat in coriander green sauce) usually accompanied by Frijoles (boiled beans, almost pureed) and its variation, Arroz con Pollo o Pato (chicken or duck rice cooked in coriander sauce), Asado (beef stewed in tomato, chilies and red wine), Lomo Saltado (beef tenderloin tips sautéed in onions, tomatoes and chilies, with a dash of Chinese influenced-soy sauce). Carapulcra (dried potatoes in tomato-chili sauce), Cau cau (boiled tender tripe cooked in yellow chili sauce with chopped Huacatay-Andean mint herbs) and Olluquito con charqui (root veggie with bits of alpaca jerky).

Classic Peruvian desserts by Chef Percy: Mazamorra Morada, Arroz con leche & Alfajores

Delectable dessert choices are Suspiro a la Limeña (condensed milk, butter and cream pudding), Arroz con Leche (Rice porridge with milk, cinnamon & clove-pictured right), Mazamorra Morada (purple corn pudding with pineapple and prunes), Picarrones (sweet potato and pumpkin paste formed in rings, deep fried similar to doughnuts and served with syrup or honey), Alfajores, Peruvian pastry with manjar-caramel, Milhojas, layered pastry crisps also with manjar and the classic ice creams in a variety of indigenous flavors – Lucuma, Chirimoya, Guanabana, Coca, Purple Corn or Algarrobina.

Suspiro a la Limeña

Suspiro a la Limeña

In Lima, relish the most authentic and excellent Comida Criolla at Restaurante Jose Antonio in San Isidro, Señorio de Sulco in Miraflores fronting the Pacific Ocean, Manos Morenas in the bohemian district of Barranco and  Gaston formerly, Casa Hacienda Moreyra, an impressive hacienda house in San Isidro. Then, there’s the touristy Rosa Nautica is famed for its unique setting right on the ocean, however, lately inclined for groups and events. Cafés like Mango’s and Café-café in Larco Mar Mall also serve superb Comida Criolla.

With Peruvian Top Chefs- Toshiro Konishi, the NOBU & Miguel Schiaffino

 

In Tokyo, Japan, Miraflores serves authentic Peruvian cuisine with branches in Shibuya & Daikanyama, while NOBU in Tokyo, co-owned by Robert de Niro, serves Nikkei dishes, Japanese with a touch of Peru in some of its entries such as Tiradito and Anticucho. New kids on the Harajuku block include Bepocah, and in Tokyo Midtown area, Nazca.

 

 

Travel to Peru and savor exquisite world class Peruvian cuisine in our Dream Trip to Peru by Inkaterra. For more information and bookings, visit our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. website or contact SSTDI.

Peruphernalia -your travel essentials to Peru

Posted in Cuisine & Dining, Cultural Scenes, Responsible Travel, Travel with tags , , , , on July 6, 2010 by Sustainability Guru
 

My personal compilation of useful information and guide before you travel to Peru…Travel tips and fast FAQs about Peru.

 
Hanging out with chismositas in Huascaran

Hanging out with chismositas in Huascaran

Peru is often called the quintessential South American destination evoking images of Andean mountains, fabled lost cities, panpipe players, llamas and, of course, the ever-fashionable and functional poncho.

-Blue List, Lonely Planet

Coastal Peru's version of the Poncho

Coastal Peru’s version of the Poncho

If Peru didn’t exist, travel guide books would have to invent it. It’s a land of lost cities and ancient ruins, brooding Andean peaks, dense jungles, quaint cities, festivals con-celebrating Roman Catholic masses with mysterious Incan rites. It’s like a whole world in a snow dome.- from the Travel Book.

 

 
 
Peruvian Marinera dancers

Peruvian Marinera dancers

 
 
Rich with majestic natural beauty, gracious people, and the legacy of a great ancient civilization, Peru is a country that touches the soul.
 
 
 
Mystical Machu Picchu Citadel at dusk

Mystical Machu Picchu Citadel at dusk

 
 

 

When planning to travel to Peru, in order to fully capture its magic and mystique, you need to understand what to expect. I have compiled important information for your visit to Peru and how to organize for your journey. Please read this as you get ready for what will be one of the most amazing trips of your life.

 
 

PERU Fast FAQs(Frequently Asked Questions)

 

Acclimatization

Acclimatization is the process of the body adjusting to the decreased availability of oxygen at high altitudes. Considering varying altitudes of destinations in Peru, travelers must try to go first to the lower ones before ascending to higher altitude cities. It is a slow process that could take place over a couple of days. Given enough time, your body will adapt to the decrease in oxygen at a specific altitude.

Lake Titicaca, Puno, World's highest navigable lake at 3,810 meters above sea level

Lake Titicaca, Puno, World’s highest navigable lake at 3,810 meters above sea level

Altitude Sickness Prevention  

Altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS) or soroche is a pathological condition that is caused by acute exposure to low air pressure usually above 2,400 meters (approximately 8,000 feet). The main cause of altitude sickness is going too high too quickly. Before your travel to a high altitude destination, avoid eating too much, and on the arrival day itself, eat less also to avoid altitude sickness. If you stay at a high altitude, rest. Limit any walking or activity. You can explore the area, but take it easy, especially on the first day. Drink plenty of water and avoid taking alcoholic beverages.

 

Communication/ Telephone/ Internet

Peru is well connected with telephone landlines and cellular phones lines in most major cities, as well as the Internet with connections in most hotels, numerous internet booths (cabinas de internet) in cities and towns and WiFi available in major hotels.

   

Currency/Credit Cards/ Foreign Exchange

Peru’s currency is the Nuevo Sol (S/.) or Nuevos Soles (in plural). Peru is typical of many South American countries in that it effectively operates a dual currency system where the US$ American Dollar has purchasing power.  Both the US$ (Dollar) and the Peruvian Nuevo Sol are in circulation and although the government prefers people to use soles, most sizeable purchases are made in dollars.  The Nuevo Sol is perfectly stable so you don’t have to worry about inflation problems during your stay. 

  

In the provinces, credit card facilities may be limited only to major establishments. Travelers’ cheques are not common, so have cash (in Soles) on hand as foreign currency exchange is limited. Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are mostly available only in the main cities. To check currency conversion, go to

http://www.xe.com/ucc/ 

Arts and crafts market, Yucay, Sacred Valley

Health/ Medical/Travelers Common Illness

To keep from getting gastrointestinal infections or avoiding travelers’ diarrhea, we recommend you take care when eating raw or exotic foods. Drink bottled or boiled water and do not eat food/beverages from street vendors/ hawkers. Doctors or medical assistance may be contacted through hotel reception.Hospitals and clinics provide adequate services, especially in Lima and the other main cities and can contact health care insurance directly.

 
 
Cata de Pisco, Ica, Peru

Cata de Pisco, Ica, Peru

Language

The official languages are Spanish (80% of the population), Quechua (Andean and highland regions), and Aymara (in the Puno high plateau). It is possible to communicate in English with tourist service workers such as tour guides, travel agency employees and 3 to 5-star hotels staff.

 

Luggage/Baggage Limit

Please know the baggage limit, number of pieces and weight allowed by the airline to your destination. Most domestic airlines have lesser baggage allowance (usually max. 10 kilos) than the international airlines (usually max. 20 kilos). In case of multiple destinations, it is advisable to travel light and bring only the essentials.

 

If you are going to Machu Picchu, please take note that Peru Rail has imposed luggage limitation on the train to Aguas Calientes. Peru Rail Luggage Transport is a maximum hand-carried allowance of only 5 kilos/11 lbs. and measuring not more than 62 inches/157 cm (height, length & width) per passenger. Your heavier and bigger baggage may be transported in another train at an extra cost (US$1.80/kilo, one way, maximum 10 kilos) or may be left for storage at Peru Rail’s Luggage Storage only in Ollantaytambo Train Station at US$5.00/day.

 

Security  

It is important that you take common sense precautions when visiting Peru, just like in any major destination in the world, such as taking extra care with your belongings in public places or avoiding deserted places at night. The following are recommended as precautionary measures:

·       Get a copy of your passport, airplane tickets and credit cards. Leave all your travel documents (passport, tickets, hotel vouchers etc) in the hotel safety deposit box and take only photocopies with you.

·       Know the unsafe areas of the city/destination and avoid visiting them, especially at night. If you must exchange money, do so in banks, authorized money changers and exchange bureaus, or in your hotel. Avoid doing this in plain sight.It may not necessarily an immediate threat to you, but you should always be watching out for pick pockets and thieves especially in crowded places such as busy avenues, airports, markets and tourist sites.

·       Try to learn a few key phrases in Spanish before you go, if not to help yourself get by, then at least to make the locals think you can speak the language and thus make you a more conscientious traveler who is careful and prepared.

 

 
 
Lima, Peru Main Plaza

Lima, Peru Main Plaza

Travel Insurance

It is recommended to buy a travel insurance to provide you general coverage in case of emergency or medical expenses, trip cancellation/interruption, lost tickets, baggage or damage, etc. This way, for any unforeseen event or circumstances, you have an insurance to fall back on.

 

Vaccinations and/or Medications  

Yellow fever & malaria vaccination is required for traveling to jungle destinations and must be administered at least 10 days before your trip otherwise it will not be effective. It is recommended that you take the proper measures to protect yourself, specially from mosquito bites, in order to prevent infection from, among other diseases, yellow fever (vaccination) and malaria (repellant and medication). Consult your doctor before traveling.

 

Water

Potable water is limited in some areas. It is recommended to drink bottled water only and do not buy from street vendors or hawkers.

 

 
 
Lima's Costa Verde, Pacific coast

Lima’s Costa Verde, Pacific coast

Weather

The Peruvian Coast is hot and sunny (northern area) or very humid (raw or damp, in Lima).

At the Peruvian Andes, rainy season is between November and March. Temperatures drop dramatically at night, thus one should always prepare warm clothes or jackets. The Peruvian Jungle is hot, with a tropical climate, however certain times of the year, the jungle experiences “friaje” or cold front. It has daily temperatures averaging the 30°C and night temperatures could drop to cold 15°. For more accurate information, please advise check respective Peru destination weather forecast in: Peru’s local weather agency, http://www.senamhi.gob.pe and click on current forecast available in English. Otherwise, you may also check in: www.wunderground.com or www.intellicast.com

 

Take a PERU DREAM TRIP  by Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco Pioneer and Conservation Leader since 1975; 100% Carbon Neutral travel and stay, any day departure. For more information and travel assistance about our Green Travel Exchange, or contact SSTDI.

Los Dioses de la Cocina del Perú – the Gods of Peruvian Cuisine came down to Tokyo

Posted in Cuisine & Dining, Cultural Scenes, Events, News, Lifestyle, Sustainable Events, Travel with tags , , , , , , on May 31, 2010 by Sustainability Guru

Peruvian chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino and Japanese, Toshiro Konishi visited Tokyo for a series of unique gastronomical experience for Tokyoites. One activity was a seminar held at the Umami Information Center for a group of Japanese chefs about the secrets of Peruvian cuisine.

The chefs talked about typical Peruvian ingredients such as papa seca or dried potatoes, (which I prepare almost weekly as “Carapulcra” here at home in Tokyo), different types of Peruvian chili peppers, and combined with Paiche, which complements with the Japanese concept of umami, the “fifth taste”.

PERUVIAN INGREDIENTS

Schiaffino, of Malabar restaurant and Executive Chef for M/V Aqua Expeditions (Amazon River Luxury Cruise), said that this experience in Japan definitely affects the way he looks at food and create new dishes.  He would also like to think that the Japanese would try to adapt Peruvian ingredients to their kitchen.  On a side note, we are fortunate to have a Peruvian grocery here in Tokyo, Kyodai, where I can get all my authentic ingredients any time.

TOSHI’S EXPERIENCE

Toshiro Konishi of Toshiro’s Sushi Bar, said before about a hundred experts and gastronomy professionals, that for him, the flavors, ingredients, the Peruvian food and his own Nikkei cooking experience are results of the fusion of Peruvian and Japanese cuisine.

PERUVIAN FLAVORS IN NOBU

Toshiro, Schiaffino and world renowned Japanese chef, Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, (the famed NOBU, who originally started his cooking career in Peru), prepared a special degustation of nine seasons to a sell-out crowd of eager Japanese patrons.

The dishes prepared included Carapulca (Dried Potato Stew), Concha Maca (Greenshells in Maca), Ceviche, Causa con Chalaca (potato salad), Chupe de Camarones (shrimp chowder), Costillas de Cordero con Quinua (Rack of Lamb with Quinua) y Anticuchos (Skewered marinated beef heart barbecue style).

In addition, Schiaffino offered the best of his bar, which was featured in the ‘top ten’ Food and Wine magazine, and the Japanese were able to try his signature Pisco Sour, aperitif such as Chilcano de Anis, Chicha and Pisco Punch.

EMBASSY HOSTED LUNCH FOR THE GODS

The Embassy of Peru in Japan hosted the 3 famous chefs to a Peruvian lunch prepared by our very own in-house Chef, Percy Bustamante, who is also featured in the book, “Los Dioses de la Cocina del Peru” (The gods of Peruvian Cuisine) which was launched by Nobu himself in Lima, Peru last February. The coffee table recipe book presents Peru’s top chefs with their signature dish recipes and translated in Japanese, obviously with the Nippon market in mind.

I have been lucky to be here in Tokyo and never have to miss Peruvian food, as they were expertly and authentically prepared by our beloved chef, Percy every so often during functions.  I was blessed with Chef Percy as my principal food buying guide when I first arrived in Tokyo; he brought me to Tokyo’s markets and stores, so I had my first insider knowledge where to buy what!

I was extremely lucky to be in the company of the gods of Peruvian Cuisine relishing Comida Criolla Peruana once again. In Tokyo, Japan, Miraflores serves authentic Peruvian cuisine with branches in Shibuya & Daikanyama, while NOBU in Tokyo, co-owned by Robert de Niro, serves Nikkei dishes, Japanese with a touch of Peru in some of its entries such as Tiradito and Anticucho.

(Source: News feed from Peru Mucho Gusto Facebook page).

Refugio de Santiago Huerto Andino Restaurante – A novo Andino refuge at one of Peru´s most fertile valley, Lunahuana

Posted in Cuisine & Dining, Cultural Scenes, Environment, Sustainable Events, Sustainable Tourism, Travel with tags , , , , , on May 26, 2010 by Sustainability Guru

One long weekend holiday to get to know more of Peru, we set off to a region along the Central Valley, known for its river rafting activities and Cray fish (camarones). With a little research and information from an officemate who had been there, we went to visit Lunahuana.  Located 112 miles, 2.15 hours by car from Lima, turning east at Cañete, along the road to the town of Imperial, we reach the verdant Lunahuana valley.

 

With pre-booked arrangements, we checked into Refugio de Santiago, a republican era restored house owned by affable and Andean produce innovator, Fernando Briceño. He moved to Lunahuana to start an honest-to-goodness rural tourism, and for which he is working to help rescue the archaeological, geographical, gastronomic and anthropological wealth of the region.

 

For this he developed the Huerto Andino (Andean orchard-farm) where he has 90 fruit varieties, 300 medicinal plants, 17 pre Hispanic vegetables, 12 “magical” plants, 50 aromatic culinary herbs, among other unusual plants and trees of the world.

 With his wife, Silvana, he manages the Restaurant with an exquisite Novo Andino cuisine, utilizing ancient Andean ingredients and names. 

Upon arrival, we were welcomed by the house refreshing drink, tuna (prickly pear) juice, one of the 12 other fantastic juices, as delicious as they are colorful. As it was way past lunch hour, we ordered our meal right away and in no time, served the first entrée, Sashimi Andino for me and Tiradito de Trucha Marinada al Hinojo, smoked trout salad in dill vinaigrette for Julio. The sashimi was a little bit salty for me as it was drenched in soy sauce and topped with pre-Hispanic Andean capers called Ticsauyuyus, already naturally briny. I told Fernando to go easy on the soy sauce as usually with sashimi, it is served on the side, not marinated, besides the delicious capers giving its flavor.

The smoked trout salad with lettuce, avocado and organic herbs was tantalizing and refreshing, truly opening your appetite with its lightness and flavor.  

For main course, I tried the Inchicuy Paullino, deep fried crunchy cuy (guinea pig) served with potato puree topped with crushed peanuts. It was perfect.

Julio ordered Ñuñuma de Granja en Salsa de Maiz Morado, sliced braised duck breast served with quinoa in creamy purple corn sauce. Another divine dish! We begged off dessert as we washed down the gratifying Andean degustation with a large jar of prickly pear juice! Later on, for dinner as we wished for something light, we settled for the Cray fish chowder, another Refugio specialty. Other house dishes which Lima loyal patrons keep coming back for are Tacu tacu de Pallares Relleno con Camarones, Cray fish filled mashed lima bean puree with rice, Fettuccini de Camarones al Estragon, fettuccini in Cray fish and tarragon sauce. Traditional Andean dishes are highlighted in its Ancestral Huatia del Pariaca marinated beef in herbs and chilies prepared a la Pachamanca (ancient Peruvian underground grill), but in their way, in clay pots, instead of buried in fired up stones; and the ubiquitous Cuy en Salsa de Olivo, marinated cuy, golden browned served with olive sauce and crowned with smoked olives stuffed with Andean capers.       

The next day, as dictated by tradition, we went around the valley and searched for the best cray fish restaurant but as it was Sunday, the town’s restaurants were full. We decided to try one near the plaza center and ordered their house specialty of Chicharron de camarones, deep fried Cray fish, which turned out to be over-rated. The portion was too little, the taste mediocre. Service was awful and it was nothing compared to Refugio’s exquisite experience, for just about the same price.

 I hope Fernando and Silvana will continue what they have started – a noble and authentic cause to recover and continue Peru’s thinning tradition of valuable plants and produce while showcasing to the world the creative culinary resources with crops long forgotten. Have you tried any Novo Andino cuisine? Share with us your experience!

101 Reasons to visit Lima!

Posted in Cuisine & Dining, Cultural Scenes, Environment, Events, News, Lifestyle, Sustainable Events, Travel with tags , , , , , , on June 7, 2009 by Sustainability Guru

Culture, Crafts and Culinary Capital

Now that you have read the good, the bad and the ugly, at the end of the day, there are still 101 reasons to visit the City of Kings

 12 Huacas (Ancient Adobe Pyramids): Pachacamac, Pucllana, Huallamarca, Maranga Complex (8 pyramids), and a little further up north, Caral

Your window to Peru's history

Your window to Peru's history

 8 Museums: Larco, Museo de Oro, Poli, Amano, Arte Lima, Arte Italiano, National Archaeological, Anthropology and History, Pedro Osma

 9 Theaters: British Theater, Plaza Isil, Alliance Francais, Teatro Peruano Japones, Segura, PUCP Cultural Center, La Tarumba, Teatro Canout, Marsano

 12 Historical Buildings: Casa Aliaga, Palacio Torre Tagle,  Archbishop Palace, Presidential Palace, House of Congress, Lima Municipal Palace, Casa de Riva Agüero, Casa Larriva, Casa de Osambelo/Casa Oquendo, Casa de la Moneda, Casa Miguel Grau, Railway Station, Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes .

9 Churches: Lima Cathedral, San Franciso, Santa Rosa, Nazarenes, San Pedro, La Merced, San Sebastián, San Agustin, Convento de los Descalzos

Artesanias (Handicrafts) Market & Specialty Shops: Mercado Central Lima, La Paz Street, Miraflores antique shops, Mercado Indio, Miraflores, Dedalo, Camusso, Alpaca Shops in Larcomar.

43 Cuisine Specialties. Cafés: La Tiendecita Blanca, Café café, Mangos, San Antonio, La Baguette, Bohemia, Café del Museo; Cevicherias (seafood): Punta Arenas, La Rana Verde, La Red, La Mar, Pescados Capitales, Segundo Muelle, Punta Sal, Caplina; Comida Criolla (Peruvian/creole): Jose Antonio, El Senorio de Sulco, Huaca Pucllana, Brujas de Cachiche, El Rincón, Panchita, El Rocoto, Fiesta, Casa Hacienda Moreyra, Malabar, Astrid & Gaston; Chifas (Peruvian Chinese): O Mei, Lung Fung, Wa Lok, Royal, Salon Capon, El Jade; Fusion: Costanera 700, Chala, Donatello, Hanzo, Kintaro, La Miga, Matsuei, Rafael, La 73, Osaka, Toshiro, Edo.

Authentic Peruvian at its finest

Authentic Peruvian at its finest

Note: the latter just 43 restaurants, is just a tip of the iceberg, so to speak.  Hundreds more, old and new, big or small, are yet to be tried and tested,  explored, savored! Now, I am craving for comida Criolla… that´s next!

Lima, The Good… Top 5 Continued

Posted in Cuisine & Dining, Cultural Scenes, Lima, Peru, Travel with tags , , , , , , on May 10, 2009 by Sustainability Guru

Top 5: continued…

 2. Peaches and Herbs

Lucuma

Lucuma

Lima is the fruit basket of Peru with diversity so rich from the different regions. I just found out that the season is the reason why these are abundant all year: when products run out in one region, yet another harvests and sells them next!

Durazno blanquillo, white peaches

Durazno blanquillo, white peaches

I personally got to eat at least a dozen new fruits that I have never seen or tasted before, such as Blanquillo, a white variety of peaches, the granadilla –sweetest passion fruit, Tuna- the fruit, not the fish- a prickly pear fruit of cactus; Aguaymanto called Inca berries or cape goose berry; Pepino dulce or pear melon, yellow gold round cucumber-ish fruit like cantaloupe; Pacay (ice cream bean) which tastes like vanilla flavored cotton; Higo -figs, whose flavor I only ate from cookies before. Lucuma, commonly known as egg fruit which refers to its consistency (that of a hard boiled egg) is more popularly prepared and tastes divine as ice cream or pastry flavor.

Sacha Inchi

Sacha Inchi

There is a wide diversity of ancient curative root crops and herbal emollients now getting famous all over the world: Maca, the Andean version of ginseng; Uña de Gato (cat’s claw) recognized to fight radicals and stimulates immune system; Sacha Inchi, Inca peanut, source of Aceite de Sacha Inchi, the Peruvian Amazon version of olive oil. Other common herbs are Albahaca, basil, Culantro, or coriander used in Peru’s most popular dish, Arroz con pollo,

Huacatay, Andean black mint, Cedron, lemon verbena, Hierba buena, another mint variety and the most famous of all –Coca, commonly used as an energizing tea, Mate de Coca or otherwise concocted as a global illicit business, its final product distributed mostly from Colombia and Mexico. Yet this ancient herb is in fact widely used in cooking and as medicine as well as spa treatments.

 3. Crops galore

Olluco

Olluco

Peruvians relish the world’s most healthy and nutritious tubers, grains and crops such as Quinoa, now touted as the world´s healthiest grains, kiwicha, yacon, chuño and my favorite, olluco a tuber vegetable which is a cross between potato and chayote. Then there’s the great papa, potato, which the National Institute of Potato claim that Peru has 2,800 varieties at the very least. I have eaten and tried about a dozen varieties so far, 2,788 to go!

the healthy Purple Corn Drink, Chicha Morada

Peru has 55 corn varieties  – I saw the biggest one in Cusco, it’s ear as big as mine. Ever heard of purple corn? Here they prepare it as a healthy beverage, it lowers cholesterol level, a home made juice called chicha morada.

 

 

 

 

 

4. Culture vulture. Lima as Spain’s viceroyalty capital in Latin America is home to at least 20 museums, hundreds of ancestral homes (casonas), churches and buildings built from different periods and architectural styles – colonial, republican, renaissance, baroque, neo-gothic, French-, Italian- and Mestizo, the latter a quaint mix of the Inca and colonial. Practically half of the city still has some of the oldest, and I mean centuries-old, not just decades-old, decadent and history-rich manors. Sadly, these are now replaced by condominiums and high rises by the minute.  However, some casonas are still well preserved and converted to museums, some still continually inhabited by their descendants. You may visit these and you will witness first hand, living history.

Palacio Torre Tagle

Palacio Torre Tagle

5.  Theaters. Part of Lima’s culture and tradition is the variety and perpetuation of theater culture. When I first arrived in Lima, I was invited to go to the “theater”, and I ignorantly asked, which movie? To which my Lima friends laughed, and said, theater, NOT cinema! You see, from where I came from, it’s movie theaters – but here, folks still like to watch plays instead of movies! Don’t get me wrong – they also have their version of Hollywood they call Choliwood (from “cholo/a” meaning mestizo-indigenous mixed race), which is the majority of the population. However, the viceroyalty influence amongst the populace still persist with the culturally inclined buffs, they have theater for every interest or preference and even several for kids.

Teatro Segura Lima

Teatro Segura Lima