Back to our normal more impersonal blog posts…today I’m going to talk about food on my travels to Peru and Argentina. One of my favorite parts of traveling to Latin America (and generally anywhere) is trying their local cuisine. It started first as trying their soda and candy but now it has branched out to their specialties. First, I’ll talk about Peruvian food and then Argentine food.
In Peru, I had a mission. I wanted to try guinea pig and alpaca. These are both eaten there. In particular, guinea pig or cuy is a specialty there. During a tour of the Cusco Cathedral, I learned that they are eaten at very special occasions like weddings and Christmas. I recall reading about guinea pigs as food going as far back as the Incans. The guinea pigs there are supposed to be bigger than your pet sized on in the States. Now, I know some people have qualms about eating them but I didn’t. My rules about food are few. The most important is that the food has to be dead while I’m eating it. Except maybe oysters.
At the first restaurant, guinea pig was actually the most expensive dish on the menu. (At this time I didn’t know it was such a prized dish). So I demurred. But a few days later, we had dinner where guinea pig was in the menu (and it was not the most expensive dish). So here was my chance. And… it wasn’t really for me. People said it tasted like rabbit but I don’t think so. I don’t love rabbit but I do prefer it. Part of it was the bones; the other part of it was the taste. It didn’t do anything for me. But I’m glad I tried it.
On the other hand, I loved alpaca. It was an appetizer and it was thin slices of cold meat. But it was tasty. It was kinda like a fuller version of roast beef. I would have it again.
While I was really excited about trying guinea pig and alpaca, I was surprised by a few other dishes. This has been a theme of my trips for the past few years. I go to a country and become enamored of a food that I previously disliked or didn’t really think of trying. I have talked about it before, such as discovering lamb in Wales or green tea in Tokyo. It’s a nice bonus to our trips.
On this trip, I discovered that I really like trout. I had it throughout my time in Peru and it was spectacular. I don’t recall liking trout much here in the states. Or maybe I never got around to eating it. But in Peru, it was amazing. It was light and buttery. It wasn’t fishy at all. Of course, it may be because it was local river trout so it may not be the same here in the US. But I’ll willing to try it.
I was also surprised by the ceviche, which is raw fish with lime or lemon juice. I have liked ceviche in the past but I had a ceviche of raw tuna, which truly knocked my socks off.
And yes I tried a Pisco Sour. It’s like a Whiskey Sour but frothier. It wasn’t really my speed though. Alas!
I can’t wait to go back to Peru and try more tasty foods.
That’s all for now.