||SUSAN BERNSTEIN, Contributor
I recently traveled through Peru with a group of friends who are adventurous when it comes to food — which, in Peru, is more about down-home goodness than elegant eats. And with more than 3,000 varieties of potatoes, a lot of our meals included pappas fritas (French fries) or other variations of potatoes as a side dish.
Alpaca brochettes in Arequipa, Peru. Photo by Susan Bernstein
The food we enjoyed most were the impromptu discoveries in Arequipa and Lima where our guidebook failed us. In Arequipa I tried alpaca brochettes, which were slightly gamey but perfectly cooked and melted in my mouth. The hit in Arequipa, however, was the rocoto relleno (stuffed rocoto peppers).
In Arequipa, we also tried guinea pig in an adobo sauce (guinea pig is the official dish of Peru). While I wasn’t crazy about it, one friend braved the BBQ guinea pig in Lima, which he enjoyed. In Lima, we also sampled fresh ceviche served in a large artichoke.
Preparing meals on the Inca Trail, Peru. Photo by Susan Bernstein
On Lake Titicaca, we tried fresh Canadian trout, which the Peruvian government introduced to the area, but unfortunately has since eaten all but five indigenous species.
Puno specializes in rotisserie chicken; in Cuzco, we sampled delicious empanadas. The restaurants in the small town of Ollytaytambo all boasted delicious wood-oven pizzas. And the Amazon featured fresh fruit juices and tropical delights, such as fresh fish with mango sauce.
While hiking on the Inca Trail, I was expecting camp food, but we were offered a surprising variety of dishes; one of our dinners included soup, fried rice, pappas fritas, stuffed chicken with spinach and cheese, and potatoes with tuna. Amazing for a chef with only one double burner!
A market in Cuzco, Peru. Photo by Susan Bernstein
One of my favourite grains is quinoa, which I usually serve as a pilaf. In Peru, it’s served like a stew with a feta-like cheese. It was good, but on my return to Canada, I found a recipe for a similar dish — Peruvian quinoa stew with salsa — served with a spicy salsa, which adds a lot of flavour to the dish.
If you’re in Peru, don’t forget to try the Pisco Sour, a cocktail containing pisco, lemon or lime juice, egg whites, simple syrup and bitters — just one drink packs a punch!
Originally from Montreal, Susan Bernstein got the travel bug after a four-week trip to Australia and New Zealand in 1998 — what she calls “a tame start, but nonetheless a start.” Since that first trip, she has traveled to 25 countries and lived in Australia for a year.
Date Added: February 28, 2012 | Comments (0)
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