Archive for Lima travel guide

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

Advertisements

The Good… Food

Posted in Cuisine & Dining, Cultural Scenes, Travel with tags , , , , , on April 2, 2009 by Sustainability Guru

 Top 5 of the Good: Food

Lomo Saltado, Peruvian "Comida Criolla"

Lomo Saltado, Peruvian "Comida Criolla"

1. Food. Hands down, Lima is the gastronomy capital of Latin America, and probably of the Western Hemisphere. In fact, Peruvian cuisine is the new global gastronomy rave with its exquisite and infinite variety, from the three major geographical regions – the Costa (Pacific coastline of 8000 kilometers), the Sierra (Andes mountain ranges from North to South) and the Selva (the jungle Amazon), not to mention its myriad influences – Creole, Chinese, Moorish, Japanese, Spanish, aside from its original indigenous cooking.

Comida Criolla Peruana

Comida Criolla Peruana

 

 

 

 

Suspiro a la Limeña

Suspiro a la Limeña

Think royal Inca cuisine. One restaurant from the northern coastal city offers at least 250 items in its menu – who can beat that?

 

Oh, did I mention desserts? I will have a special entry  just on food to include desserts and drinks later on in the blog. Maybe 2 or 3… more…! There’s just too many to write about! And I’m on an infinite culinary adventure yet. Have you relished any Peruvian delectable dish? What is your favorite? Share… 

Lima – the good, the bad and the ugly

Posted in Cultural Scenes, Environment, Fashion, Art & Design, Sustainable Events, Travel with tags , , , , on March 31, 2009 by Sustainability Guru

 

Lima is very much like Manila, literally and figuratively speaking, in all senses: the sights –the same look – from swanky residential districts to smoky, in their case,  foggy hillside squatter areas.

 

Similar smell – of the smog, that is -the polluted smoky atmosphere caused by diesel engines from micros (jeepneys in Manila) and buses.  Twin touches of road textures – moon-like surfaces of pothole-ridden streets. Sounds alike -horns blaring everywhere, bus barkers shouting in your ears. And taste – ahh, the best in culinary experience.

  

Lima affects you pretty much the same way as Manila – you love it and hate it at the same time. The next entries are a summary of the top five- the good, the bad and the ugly of what is Lima for me in the almost 4 years that I have been here.

Lima – enigmatic, frenetic city of contrasts

Posted in Cultural Scenes, Environment, Events, News, Lifestyle, Fashion, Art & Design, Sustainable Events, Travel with tags , , , , , , , on March 29, 2009 by Sustainability Guru
   

 

 

 

 

 

Called Ciudad de los Reyes (City of Kings) by the Spanish conquerors, the capital city of Lima is much more than the gateway to Peru. With the country’s best museums – more than 20 of them, plus striking baroque and renaissance churches, colonial mansions and palaces, world-class restaurants, and outstanding night life, Lima deserves more than a quick stopover. The old colonial center, now identified as a World Heritage site, was the crown jewel of Spain’s South American empire.

 

 

Modern Lima is an enigmatic, energetic city of contrasts, dotted with pre-historic sites and archeological ruins, and comprised of distinctive districts and neighborhoods. Sophisticated San Isidro, with elegant old homes and the lovely Olive Grove; as well as the galleries and bistros of artistic Barranco, and the charming flower filled parks and shops of Miraflores, offer intriguing, uniquely Peruvian, urban destinations.

 

With Peruvian cuisine having captured the fancy of international epicures, Lima has become Latin America’s gastronomical capital.

 

 

 

 

 Ceviche, Peru’s original national dish

 

 

 

Novo-andino cuisine, alpaca meat brocheta in Quinotto.

 

 

  

Lima is also a mecca for handicrafts and arts enthusiasts, and a top shopping destination where hundreds of stores offer outstanding traditional crafts of the highest quality, as well as remarkable silver and gold jewelry, antiques, objets d´ art, tapestries, exquisite wood carvings, paintings and pottery. Colorful outdoor markets are popular, filled with dazzling traditional Peruvian items not to be found in shopping malls.

 

From Frommers:

For most of the year, an unrelenting gray cloud called the garúa hangs heavily overhead, obscuring the coastline and dulling the city’s appearance. Although it virtually never rains in Lima, the sun comes out only from December to April; the rest of the time, Lima makes London look like Lisbon.

 

NO KIDDING! look at this photo above so gray and misty…. and me still trying to keep fit  in spite of the cold. 8 loooong months in this awful, horrible weather!