Why on Earth is Peruvian Food so Good?
(just based on opinions and table talk, no research)
On a recent trip to Peru for the day this week, i had two excellent meals, and though I have often wondered how is it that Peru has a more elaborate cuisine than all the other latin american countries, I had never stopped to analyze why. This trip's food was so great that during digestion my brain had the chance to to pause and wonder how is it that Peru has developed such a wonderful culinary talent.
Yes, you can have good Peruvian food all over the world these days but trust me, in Peru it's still best. I had the luck this last tuesday to have lunch at Señor Limon and dinner at beachside Cala. The choice of the first one was a simple one, it was close to the office and had a big projection TV for my two companions to watch the soccer game of the current world cup currently held in South Africa, I sat facing away from the screen as i'm not a soccer guy I decided to concentrate on the plate.
I started with a mixed fish Cebiche (fish marinated or cooked in lemon, not really cooked, just oxidized), it came as usual accompained with this delicious giant corn, pumpkin, purple onions and just the right amount or very spicy rocotto.
Then came the main course and I ordered more fish, a fried Chita, where they fry the whole fish, and it comes with baked banana and covered on thin sliced baked garlic (luckily I sat alone in the plane out of Lima that night). The plate looked so gorgeous that I had to take a picture of it and that prompted the idea for this article. I'll be posting the picture later in case you are interested in seeing it through my eyes.
All that fried fish needed something to help it go, and in this case a really good Peruvian Pisco Sour was the choice.
At night at the beautiful Cala, by the sea we had a great entree of assorted peruvian specialties, and then a very good looking and delicious baked Mero steaks that came with two varieties of risotto: pesto and mushrooms, they all went delicious with the Mero. Again Pisco Sour was the the drink of choice, this time the large size called Cathedral.
Desserts are equally good, i had a great Ponderaciones at lunch and my favorite Tres Leches at night, Tres Leches is a delicious and wet piece of cake that had some sort of milk based mix on it, like a very thin dulce de leche. Ok i'm not sure what it is, but it's delicious and you can look it up.
Then they picked me up and drove me to the airport. Just one day of worked but spiced with two excellent meals and great talk. AH yes, the talk, i got carried away with the dishes and forgot about the theory of why it is so good...
Maybe it's as my friend Tomas said, the fact that Peru was a hub for 300 years in the time it was a Virreinato as a Spanish colony, maybe it's the multiple immigrations that came after that from China and Japan, and the african influence received during the slavery years.
Most likely i's all of them together, but the good thing for Peruvian cuisine is that this immigrations and influences were not repelled or put away in ghettos but embraced, incorporated into the food and mixed to produce a great combination of flavors. Some more simple as the Chifa (Chinese food with a strong Peruvian accent) but most modern are more elaborated and produce a delicate fusion of flavors.
Today travelling to Peru is a culinary experience, and they are really proud of the fine food they serve, from the mother who cooks for her son, to the restaurant owner that loves do see his customers delighted.