There is no doubt about it, Lima has positioned itself as the Gastronomic Capital of Latin-America. What in the end of the last century was regarded as a low-profile hobby in Peru’s kitchens has become one of the world’s most spectacular cuisines. At the hand of Gastón Acurio and other renowned chefs like Virgilio Martinez and Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, the so called ‘gastronomic boom’ in Lima was empowered. The capital unites all cuisines of Peru and its produce in one place, ceasing to be a transit city and into a destination where one can eat like the gods. And saying this isn’t nothing, taking into account who wrote this article, a lifetime Limeño, who suffers greatly from the absence of the food when leaving the country.
The Peruvian gastronomic identity is shaped by a territory that stretches from the most diverse sea in the world in the pacific coasts and passes the fertile coastal valleys and the Andes Mountains up till the great Amazon jungle. Added to that is the knowledge of three distant continents that have had influence in Peru, like Europe through the heritage of the Spanish, Africa thanks to the rich culture of the black race that came during the viceroyalty and Asia, with its great amounts of Chinese and Japanese immigrants.
The variety of products is a theme apart. Can you imagine all that comes from one of the most bio-diverse countries of the planet? The Peruvian communities in deep Peru produce the best organic products that are then used by the most well-known chefs. An article in the newspaper El País de España mentioned that “there are 2.000 different species of fish, 1.500 varieties of potatoes and baby potatoes and 150 other tubers (potatoes, cassava, ollucos); 500 different fruits, including pacay (a sort of pod), guava and lucuma; 35 types of corn, white and purple; vegetables like pepper and hot pepper; legumes such as tarwis or chochos (like lupins); spices like achiote; grains like quinoa, cañihua or quihuicha; and Amazonian species such as the elderberry, the camu camuo, and the cat’s claw”. In short, everything mentioned before merged to become one of the many wonderful markets in Lima, where lovers of culinary shopping can get lost in the clutter and richness of places that have it all.
Finally, there’s the best part, where all the wonders of distant places in Peru and the world transform in a spectacular course: the restaurants. And there is some of everything. In Lima, one can find some of the best restaurants of the world, like Central, Astrid y Gastón, Malabar, Maido, El Mercado and more, that offer a fusion menu with unimaginable ingredients obtained from the deepest parts of the land. Not to mention the great food fair Mistura organises every year! This is where all of culinary Peru comes together in one place. However, in Peru one can taste the best dishes like “ceviche” in the most unexpected places, like for example, in the tiniest restaurant beside the road heading south or north along the coast, where one can find true temples of good marine food in the middle of nowhere.
It might be best not to tell anymore and leave the rest to a wonderful trip to Peru that today, more than ever, deserves and should start with a belly full of experiences of one of the best cuisines of the planet. With RESPONS, get to know the value chain of products from its origin to the plate of a chef!
Read the article in the newspaper El País here (in Spanish) and take a look at the restaurant guide.
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