Today, the most natural thing to do in Lima, is a culinary tour. Why ? Well, you’ll find out here…
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Lima, capital of Peru, has become in recent years an essential culinary destination. The names of Peruvian chefs began to cross borders. Gaston Acurio, just to name one, opened fancy restaurants worldwide. One of his restaurants is in Paris, and our Parisian chefs receive him as a super-VIP.
Yes, Peruvian cuisine has the wind in its sails and Peru this year was elected global culinary destination of the year. One more reason to visit Peru.
We decide to participate in a culinary tour organized by a culinary agency in Lima. This tour is designed to show visitors the variety of Peruvian cuisine and its products.
The agency gives us an appointment – Where ? Well, this is not a joke, meeting point is in front of McDonald’s on Kennedy Square, in the Miraflores district of Lima. Peru is not an exception to the invasion of McDonalds, KFC and other fast food from trendy North America.
We join others who booked the same culinary tour. An international public because today participate French, Germans and a Canadian. Our guide Julio who works for the agency will be with us throughout this journey.
After an introduction on the subject of Peruvian cuisine, including some of its Creole and Chinese influences, we are on the way to our first market, the central market.
In front of the markets, a lady sells these multicolour flowers, she explains us that all the flowers are real. They are immersed in color baths (natural colors from other plants or natural dyes). Like this it gives a rainbow bouquet!
Lots of cooking ustensils, pots and pans are also on the sides of the market, many plastic products too, of course.
We continue our way to the next market, in the district of Surquillo. This is a huge market where you really find everything.
The chillies are famous here in Peru. Be careful however, they are super strong!
Julio takes the opportunity to show us some of the many varieties of potatoes that are growing in Peru. But he also explains us fruits and vegetables, that arrive every morning from the different regions of the country.
The stalls of meat and fish are very impressive, too.
We also see stalls selling plants and other natural products. These plants are incorporated in foods or infusions; they are said to have special virtues on our health.
We are in front of a stall of fish and shellfish that are undoubtedly of the utmost freshness. The lady is very nice and smiling.
Still moving crabs, fish eyes are still shining… In summary, it makes us hungry !
Well, right here it is where we will do our tasting. Julio installs tables and chairs in the market hall and we start our culinary tasting tour.
On the menu, of course, Ceviche, the famous signature dish of Peru, raw fish, lemon, onion and spices.
We will also have chicharrones (or fried) fish and shrimp.
And the rice with seafood. Do you want me to tell you? It’s delicious! All these fresh products make any meal just incredible! Served with Chicha morada, the famous drink made from black corn, we are delighted!
Look at those happy faces; don’t we look just happy ?
We continue our visit of the market before reaching the stand of the agency.
Here, we have a seat for some more fruit tasting.
On the program we have: passionflower, passion fruit (these two fruits make up the family passion fruit), but also the camu camu, pitahaya (also known as the “dragon fruit”) carambola, chirimoya (or custard apple), and Pepino with its excellent flavour between melon and pear.
It is a great introduction to all these exotic fruits for everybody who doesn’t always dare to buy them for lack of knowledge.
But now it is already time to return to Miraflores where our tour ends. We were already touring for three hours ! The organizing agency of this tour has justified its name. Lima te llena – Lima fills you up. And yes, we are full, our senses are tired and our stomachs are full.
Peru has become just recently aware of the diversity and excellence of its cuisine and worked hard to be considered today as a global gastronomy destination. We hope that this will contribute to the country sustainability and provide economic alternatives to activities such as mining.
We consider this kind of culinary tour very interesting, especially for foreigners who like this can enjoy products that they don’t know from home or do not dare to taste them. And please be assure that the products in the markets are excellent. There are many regional differences in Peru. Your gastronomic tour should not be limited only in Lima.
The cuisine has also been subject to various influences due to population movements in history. In the indigenous origin cuisine, we saw Spanish influences, later creole or african, because of the slave labour brought by the Spaniards, until the arrival of the Chinese. Yes, nowadays rice is part of the daily diet of Peruvians that had been adopted after the arrival of the immigrants from Asia.
Lima,more than any other city in Peru, has an impressive number of restaurants, some of them world class. Feel free to enjoy Peruvian specialities. Other regions, including northern Peru, our regions of Amazonas, San Martin, Libertad, Lambayeque are not far behind and will surely make you taste their regional specialities.
Note: the agency Lima te llena doesn’t exist anymore, but you can find many others.
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