Remember that day in Trujillo when we ate nothing but American chain food?
Well, it didn’t take for the guilt to sink in and we decided to make it up for our remaining 2 days in Trujillo. Well, the guilt and the price tag, really. Pizza Hut was expensive.
Everyone that we’ve met unequivocally said that Peru has the best food in the whole continent.
Well, we’re going to judge it for ourselves. We’re skipping Trujillo’s more known comida tipica: cabrito, lomo saltado, and other local delicacies and sticking to sea food, taking advantage of the fact that Trujillo is located on the coast.
Come with us on a 2 day tour of Peruvian food!
We found ourselves in Huaychao, a coastal village 30 min away from Trujillo. And there we had our first encounter with ceviche.
Ceviche – First encounter
I’m not a big fan of raw fish. I’m one of those people who go to the sushi restaurant and order exclusively from the fried/cooked roll sections.
So ceviche presents an interesting dilemma: it’s cooked. But not with fire. Does it count?
Regardless I decided that going to Peru without trying ceviche at least once would be a blasphemy.
When it came, my heart sank.
It looks worse than I imagined. It jiggles when I tried to spear a piece with my forks.
Jack was looking at me expectantly, camera handy. ‘Go on – you ordered it’.
I took a deep breath, ‘Ugh, whatever…Here’s one for the road’
I put a liveless, cold piece of mystery fish in my mouth and swallowed.
First impression: it was sour. Then: a little chewy, it was not so bad.
I doubt that I’d be craving it anytime soon, but I did finish the plate. But I was glad to have Jack’s chicharron de pescado (fish nuggets) as a chaser.
Chicharron de Pescado
Fried fish nuggets. They taste as good as they sound.
Then as a second chaser, this is what I ordered:
Pescado de Ajo
Now this – this is how I like my seafood: HOT (just how I like my men 🙂 ). Fried fish covered with garlic sauce, shrimps, and odds and ends of other seafood.
It was good, but a dish with garlic in the name I expected it to be a lot more garlicky.
Despite the huge lunch, we wanted more. So we walked for a couple of blocks, and ducked in into another restaurant. This time we ordered the calamari.
Calamari – Deep Fried
The aji that it came with was bomb. It was so hot.
“Senora, una Custeña negra, por favor” we managed to choke out with our burning tounge.
We were invited by our Couchsurfing host to a cevicheria. “Best ceviche! Lots of people come”
And it was true. The place was packed.
Not tempted in the slightest bit, I stayed away from the ceviche section and ordered something I knew was going to be hot.
Palahuela – Quickly a favorite
Palahuela or seafood stew is my kind of seafood: thick, filled with chunky pieces of seafood. It was delicious! It’s even better than the Pescado de Aji.
I can eat this every day. And for $4 a plate, I might actually be able to afford it.
Leche de Tigre
Or tiger’s milk. It’s basically a soup served in a cocktail glass made out of ceviche juice. It’s white and it has floaty stuff in it. It tastes strongly of lemon/lime.
And it’s cold.
Despite how it looks (only slightly better than the ceviche itself). It actually goes very well with ‘maize’ or toasted corns.
More fried stuff…
Jack decided that he hadn’t had enough fried stuff and ordered another plate of chicharron de pescado. I envy his metabolism that seems to be able to handle as much fried food as he wants.
Wha? Chinese food?
Unfortunately we had to end our gastronomy trip in Trujillo on a downward turn, in a chifa – a Chinese restaurant. The cevicheria we wanted to go to was closed for a private event.
There are so many of these ‘chifas’ in Peru serving huge plates of what you’d expect out of a Chinese restaurant – rice or noodles – but with a Peruvian twist.
Which I think simply means a blander version of Chinese food.
In the end…
Trujillo gave us 101 lesson on Peruvian seafood and it whetted our appetite for more.
As a matter of fact, the only reason we’re going to Arequipa next is to check out its supposedly varied and unique twist on Peruvian food. Yumm, can’t wait! Sorry, Colca Canyon – no offense.
The owner of the cevicheria that was closed for a private event promised us free ceviche if we ever come back. But the question is…
Would we try ceviche again?
Absolutely. As one reader suggests on our FB page, eating it with rice/chufa as chaser will help soften the acid of the lime juice.
But Peru does seem to have a lot of options when it comes to food – I’m afraid it will be awhile until I order one again.
Like Phil, I love ceviche! I must admit, I have seen better looking ceviche than the one you had in Trujillo. Most of the ceviche I have eaten has been cut up into smaller sections which I think helps a lot with the fear factor! I know skipped loo saltado in Trujillo, but make sure you try it at least once in Peru, it's my second favorite dish. A close second to aji de gallina. Yummy!
The ceviche here in La Serena, Chile is excellent and delicious, and when we're out for dinner, I try to order it as much as I can.
The "Chinese food" in Chile is awfully bland, too, though I think I've gotten one of the local proprietors to amp up the black bean quotient for their black bean chicken dish.
I can't eat raw fish since watching the series Monsters Inside Me and seeing so many stories of how people contracted parasites from it. You are braver than me!
I'm not sure how I will go eating ceviche when I try it in Peru, but I love how much food you guys ate!! You remind me of Ant and I when we go out and eat!
Like you, I don't think I will enjoy ceviche that much. I am a texture eater. I don't think I will be able to deal with the chewy, jiggly texture of the ceviche. I will give you a try anyway. I may get surprised. The rest of the food looks delicious.
Oh man.. I love ceviche!!!! I can see how people are turned off, though. Glad to hear you will give it another shot!