Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Food Glorious Food

Peruvian food is AMAZING. The last time I was in Arequipa and Lima (November 2013), I gained 5kg in 6 days. Even as a devout pescatarian, I will admit that there are lots of wonderful land proteins served in Peru. There is no shortage of wonderful food options in Peru. The seafood (especially ceviche), fruit, pasteries, chifa (Chinese food), Inca Kola – I love it all. One of my favorite things to do in Peru is to visit the local market and look around at the food stalls.

The fruit stalls are my favorite – so much fruit I’d never seen, heard of, or tasted before visiting Peru. Most of the fruit is trucked in from nearby farms.

Within hours of arriving into Arequipa, we drove to the market and brought back a ton of fruit (and carrots) to our hotel.

During my last trip to Arequipa, I tried 5 new fruits. This time, I’ve added a few more to the list. I can never remember names. One of my favorites is granadilla, which looks and feels like a hollowed out orange. Cut it in half and there are tons of edible seeds swimming in a mass of gooey and sweet fruit.

Gigantic Peruvian corn with kernels 5 or 6 times as large as kernels of U.S. corn. Peruvian corn isn't sweet like American corn.

Avocado and cheese sandwiches made with Pan de Tres Puntas (or Three Points Bread), a puffy pita-like bread that originated in Arequipa. Bought a few of these from a very nice woman at a sandwich stand for 1.2 soles (<$0.50 apiece).

Inca Kola, the best-selling carbonated beverage in Peru. It's everywhere. This is the famous stuff that looks like a yellow-hued Mt. Dew and tastes like bubble gum. I’ve been told that Inca Kola had historically outstripped Coke and Pepsi in terms of sales and popularity. Coke had tried to compete, but it gave up and ended up buying Inca Kola. After toying around with the formula, which resulted in massive consumer protests, Coke reverted to the original Inca Kola formula and hasn’t touched it since. Not sure if the popularity of Inca Kola is generational. Most of the young children I've seen in Peru seem to prefer other types of carbonated drinks. I'll ask around and report back later.

Speaking of Inca Kola. I agree with my Peruvian friends that it is the perfect accoutrement to chifa, the Peruvian version of Chinese food. Haven’t seen General Tso’s Fish yet, but I’m on the prowl.

I’ve managed to walk over 10,000 steps each day (tracked using my handy FuelBand), which has helped me to keep my weight down this trip. So far, my belt notch suggests that I haven’t gained any weight. In fact, I think I’ve dropped a couple pounds. Last trip, I was walking less than 2,000 steps per day, which in conjunction with heavy, non-stop eating might explain the flash weight gain. I have an embarrassingly large collection of food photos. I will continue posting new AMAZING food photos throughout the week.

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