Monday, July 27, 2015

Quinoa and Alpaca, Anyone? (Food in Peru)

1 Peruvian Sole = approximately 15 Philippine Pesos

Peruvian cuisines vary per region. It depends on what crops the region grew. Peruvian cuisine is influenced by the Spanish, German and some Asian techniques. I didn't come to Peru with a food gameplan, so I relied on recommendations from my hostels.

Shortly after I arrived in Lima Backpackers, Marco, a really awesome host, brought us to this restaurant blocks and blocks away from our neighborhood. Marco ordered his usual soup and appetizer order while the rest of us went for the authentic Peruvian options.
The appertizer is this some type of dried corn, which tastes like popcorn.

I ordered the meal combo calamares + rice + ceviche. I ordered a lemon slush while most of them got a beer. Ceviche is raw fish flavored in lime, lemon, salt, pepper and other spices. In some variations, ceviche can be lightly cooked. 
Lunch plate and drink for 27 soles

Ceviche can seriously put kilawin out of business. It as sooooo good I was sad when I finished mine. Everyone else liked theirs as well. Oops, walang tira.

For meat options, they have a lot. That fuzzy local animal called alpaca is cooked and served by restaurants. Don't get too attached to the alpacas. I saw them, then had one, during my first day in Ollantaytambo.

Blue Llama is Pisac market. It has a Tripadvisor sticker so that's a good sign.

I've been consciously decreasing my animal intake since January. Eating this llama was a conscious exception I made. I was okay. Just okay. I would say you can skip it entirely. It has a different texture and feel, but very much like pork.

Alpaca lunch is 31.50 soles

Another meat dish is called cuy. We passed some vendors selling the local delicacy called cuy. This is a roasted guinea pig. Much like lechon, but a smaller version. Price starts at 60 soles. That's quite a steep price and a lot of guinea pig for one person. I wasn't craving for meat, so I completely skipped cuy.

My hostel in Ollantaytambo, Hostal Iskay, had Il Piccolo Forno in their map. Dragonball anyone? :P

I enjoyed this cartoon placement, even though the dialogue was in Spanish.

That's a huge bowl of salad. There is complementary bread served with  a bunch of spices they made in their own kitchen.

Made me feel less guilty after all those bad things I ate in LA. I ordered some calzone too because I wasn't too happy with the alpaca lunch.

The chocolate cake was gluten free. Less guilt pa more.
All of that food for 35.50 soles. That's salad, huge calzone, chocolate cake and hot chocolate. Appetizer and local fresh sauces are free.

After an amazing morning at the Salineras and Moray, I recovered my energy at this random restaurant. The hostel's reccommended restaurant seemed closed (they were deserted and empty) during this time. 

Most of the restaurants in Ollantaytambo are "people pleaser" menus. They serve local food but then they serve other foreign dishes as well.

Very basic lunch for 27 soles. Pisco Sour Cathedral and Pesto. MEH.

Now on to Machi Picchu town. I walked around town with my roommate to find a place for dinner. We settled for a Chinese restaurant up in the river. We didn't want to walk further and all options seem touristy anyway. Turned out that the restaurant was a good type of touristy.

A really nice trout dinner for 22 soles

This is trout again. I went back for more the next day. It was still good.

For something un-Peruvian, I had this simple but delicious margherita pizza  in Cusco for 22 soles. The pizza place was the only place open at midnight.

For amazing recommendations on local cuisines, I always ask the dorm/guesthouse of their recommendations. This local restaurant tucked in the streets of Cusco served soup, trout (can't get enough of it) with fries and a bottle of water, all for 13 soles. Bang for the buck!

Value for money at 13 soles

And because I was fascinated with trout, I ordered chicharron de truta at another restaurant for dinner. Pricey for 22 soles of oiliness.

Chiccharon de Trucha

I washed away all that fishy smell and oil with a sweet bite of Alfajor - 2 soles a piece. The alfajor can be shaped in a cone or a biscuit. I don't know if alfajor is a local delicacy but I saw it in all the bakeshops I looked at.

And here's some huge and delicious alfajor in a bakery.

And for pasalubong, or maybe you'd like to hoard that pricey grain in Healthy Options...
Quinua for them

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