TEXT: FÁBIO SANTANA PHOTOS: WIKIMEDIA, ELEMENTS AND PIXABAY
PLEASANT PERUVIAN GASTRONOMY A few days in the capital of Peru, Lima, combine the knowledge of pre-Columbian and colonial treasures with a rich, tasty and intercultural cuisine, which brings to the palate the idyll composed of new pleasurable sensations
The country is recognized for the quality of contemporary cuisine, even though it respects the culinary traditions of various ethnic groups, and has become a tourist route for gourmands, being considered the Gastronomic Capital of Latin America. In the first few meters in the taxi that would take me to the hotel, in downtown Lima, I could already see how exciting it would be to experience the city traffic. Soon a car invaded the preferred one of a crowded avenue, forcing the taxi driver to climb the central construction site! Not to mention honking, lots of honking!
I noticed that the cars that circulate in the city, including buses and vans, are already very old. Another detail, seats are offered in vans, taxis and even in private cars. Drivers simply stop on the street, blocking all traffic, and honking their horns to get attention, keeping their arms out with a sign announcing their destination. To maintain a harsh dialogue in the “honking” language, drivers of cars that are left behind lose their pity for the poor horn, and punish our ears.
Another note: when taking a taxi, make sure to set the fare, since the cars do not have taximeters, allowing the driver to charge the fare at random.
I stayed in the Miraflores neighborhood, so often cited by the Peruvian Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa in his works. A stroll through Parque Central de Miraflores and an arrival at the shore, more precisely in Parque del Amor, to admire the sculpture El Beso, was the poetic moment of the trip. Speaking of love, Bairro Barranco also has a Bridge of Sighs, where anyone who can cross it over the top, in a single breath, without breathing, will have a wish fulfilled! This was the athletic moment. The Historic Center has a rich colonial architecture, mainly around the Plaza de Armas. At Plaza San Martín, French style dominates the scene.
For a perfect end of the afternoon, I witnessed the beautiful show presented at El Circuito Mágico del Agua, in Parque de la Reserva. I set aside the next day to learn about the history of the pre-Inca peoples. The ruins of the ancient pyramid of Huaca Pucllana, dating from the 5th century, are located in the middle of the city of Lima, precisely in the neighborhood where I stayed. It was used as a place of worship for the gods and as an administrative sector.
The area was dominated by the Lima people, Los Limaos, from 200 to 700 BC. The ceremonies worshiped some gods, mainly the Goddess of the Sea. Other towns followed the limes, modifying the purpose of the place and worshiping other gods. The quality and the unique characteristic of the privileged Peruvian gastronomy result from the intensive cultural miscegenation that occurred during the centuries, between natives and immigrants, in addition to the rich biodiversity that the country has.
The care in the presentation of the dishes, how to transform the tasty ceviche, the most emblematic dish of Peruvian cuisine, into a work of art, caught my attention. After all, you also “eat with your eyes”. Among my gastronomic adventures in the Capital of Peru, I can highlight the peculiar Nikkei cuisine, the fusion of Peruvian and Japanese cuisine, Italian pasta with Peruvian flavors, Creole cuisine, the integration of typical local and Spanish food, and traditional ceviche in different outfits. In the kitchen of some of the renowned restaurants, the dishes are prepared in sight of the customer. The caprice in the making of the dishes is perceived in the visual, aroma, texture and flavors. Ah, a reminder! You can only get reservations at the most famous restaurants months in advance.
Church of the Convent San Francisco Pyramid Huaca Pucllana Above the Parque del Amor, overlooking the sculpture El Beso. Below, Bridge of Sighs Peruvian Dish Ceviche
GOOD TRIP AND GOOD TASTING!
José Fábio Bastos Santana, doctor and writer, is the author of the books ‘‘ Tasting the pleasures of good living ’’ and ‘‘ Travel chronicles ’’ which bring tourist itineraries to different cities in several countries. The books are available in Fortaleza at Empório Delitália, on Avenida Desembargador Moreira and Livraria Leitura at Shopping RioMar Fortaleza.
Peruvian dish Ceviche.