Ceviche is undoubtedly Peru’s most popular cuisine, and there’s a dazzling variety of it to be had. (I’m sure that as Chef Bill was trying out all that ceviche, he was surrounded by people that might have been wearing yellow underwear, as it is tradition to give the sunny garment as gifts to friends and family on New Year’s Eve! I really just had to share that with you all.)Peru has a coastline bursting with fresh fish, as the Humboldt Current runs beside it. It’s one of the major upwelling systems of the world and so, it produces a huge amount of seafood. Ceviche is raw fish that has been marinated in citrus juice. The acid in the fruit “cooks” the fish, producing a light flavor and mildly chewy consistency. Chef Bill had some ceviche in a seaside town called Huanchaco, at the Big Ben restaurant. He called it the best of all the ceviches he ate while abroad!
“There were also little black clams on the dish that had really good flavor but didn’t pair as well with the acidity of the ceviche and were slightly sandy. The white beans added contrast and the plantain chips had a nice sweet crunch that completed the dish. The restaurant was on the second floor on an open air patio, across the street from the beach. The nice atmosphere and the good food complemented each other and made for a memorable experience.”
Cuy is guinea pig. It is called that because the sound it makes sounds like “cuy.” Bill called it a “must-try for every adventuresome eater.” He described it as tender and juicy with a flavor similar to duck or squab. “The skin was crisp and if you don’t mind eating something that’s staring at you, I would suggest that everybody try it. The dish came with the standard Ecuadorian sides which is rice, potatoes and a few veggies (most Ecuadorian dishes seem to be lacking in the vegetable department).”
On a fun side note, Bill fully expected to get to consume loads of delicious coffee while in two nations that produce a fair share of the world’s java beans! But it turns out that the locals generally prefer good old Nescafe instant!