Sunday, March 30, 2014

Comida de Lima

I often get asked what's my two favourite things about living in Peru. The answer is simple - waves and food. I'm going to start with the food.

Coming from Australia I feel we're a little devoid of a cultural food identity. We have barbecues, but that's universal, meat pies which are nice but I can't handle them all the time, and then there's vegemite. I adore my vegemite, but every time I try and feed it to a foreigner they get a shocked look and run off to go scrape their tongue out. I was told last week by a Peruvian that it tasted like a rotten salty ocean.

This brings me to Peruvian food. While a little carb heavy at times (they like to have both potato and rice in a meal, weird right?), it's amazing. They grow this little chilli here called an Aji, and I've never found it anywhere else in the world. The flavourful little gem is used in a majority of their local cuisine. The first food here that needs a special mention is ceviche, in my opinion it's the best in the world. But I'm going to write an entire post devoted to that later. Today marks the first instalment in my "Places I love to eat in Lima". Since I don't have much to do right now I'm going to devote my time to eating, and I'm beginning with two personal favourites - the most epic sandwich ever, and the world's best churro! Hurrah!

1). Churro of Epicness:
Ok so granted the Churro technically isn't from Peru, but it's still a staple street food. You'll find little vendors all over Lima selling them. But what makes the churro different here? They stuff it FULL of manjar blanco, a delicious hot gooey caramel made from condensed milk. Churros vary from vendor to vendor - a good one is light, hot, crispy and fresh, and a bad one heavy, cold and over fried. Which brings me to the best Churro in Lima (in my opinion). You'll find it in a little cafe called Monolo situated in Miraflores. It's just before the main Church in Parque de Kennedy. It's crispy, fresh, gooey, awesomeness. At 4 soles a pop it's a bit pricey, but absolutely worth it. My saving grace is it's hard to get parking in this area, otherwise I'd be the size of a house by now.

Jose's happy Churro face

2). Sandwich of Epicness:
I'm not a big sandwich lover (I don't really eat bread), but this one knocks my socks off. It comes from a sandwich chain that you'll find all over town called La Lucha. Little sandwich shops are abundant in Lima, so what makes this one different? The quality of ingredients and the sauce. The bred is fresh and crispy, but the smoked meat is what makes it. I always order the pavita, which I think is spanish for "little turkey". This pavita sandwich is the only time in my life I've decided something is BETTER without the veggies. Weird right? All this little beauty needs is bread, smoked turkey, and the awesome La Lucha creo sauces which usually consist of - aji sauce (creamy chilli sauce), a mix of thinly sliced red onions, cilantro and other goodies. I don't really know what's in it but it's heaven. Accompany your meal with a milkshake (also the best I've found in Lima so far), or a traditional purple corn drink called "Chicha Morada". A sandwich at La Lucha will cost you around 12 soles or a little bit more. Both these restaurants can be found in the Parque de Kennedy area, a popular central park which is a strange mix of street vendors, flowers and well kept stray cats.