I suppose it is not for nothing that I have the protagonist of Roebuck, 16th century South American gentleman adventurer Anthony Knivet, obsessing over the food of the continent.
I’m obsessed with South American food too. In fact, I probably write more about South American food, from its streetfood to its coffee and wine and craft beer scenes, than I do about any other aspect of this fascinating land mass.
And Peruvian food is quite the thing right now: understandably so. However, it’s often inaccurately showcased in restaurants overseas. (I’ll never forget the horror of going to a fairly top end Peruvian restaurant in London and getting ceviche with lime just drizzled over the top).
To discover the soul of Peruvian cooking, sorry guys, you have to venture out to the country itself. And not just Lima, its places to eat oozing with accolades these days, and with a fancy food festival, Mistura, to boot. No, to truly appreciate Peruvian food you have to head on an adventure down along the south coast, up into the mountains and over the top into the jungle on the far side. And it’s an adventure for the palate every bit as much as it is an adventure.
I wrote the below for Lonely Planet…
(Oh, and the picture, courtesy of Marejo, is of Lomo Saltado – one of Peru’s all-time classic meals: strips of succulently, spicily marinated beef with red onions, tomatoes and chips, served with a mound of rice.)