With the annual Peruvian chocolate expo, Salon de Cacao y Chocolate, coming up July 11-14, I’m reminded of a “first” I had in the Peruvian gourmet chocolate store, El Cacaotal, last year. One day, while in the store, I got chatting with a Danish tourist. She was in El Cacaotal to buy chocolate for a “chocolate ceremony.” Apparently, in Denmark, there are people who get together to drink hot chocolate and open their “chocolate” chakra. It can be super dark in Denmark in the winter, so getting together to drink hot chocolate sounds like a good idea.
The Salon de Cacao can be overwhelming. One should be prepared that one can get “out-chocolated” — at some point, one just needs a break from sampling chocolate. I think I reached the limit at about 20 last year. Wonder what it will be this year…
Like the famous cats (“if I fits; I sits”), if it fits on the back of a bicycle or motorcycle, then it can be delivered. The biggest delivery services in Lima are UberEats, Rappi, and Glovo. But, it seems like everyone has a delivery system, including some of the vendors at the local markets (and as in the photo, a mystery). The major delivery services charge a small fee for delivery, either fixed (Glovo charges 5 soles) per delivery or variable depending on distance (Rappi), and loyalty programs (30 soles unlimited per month). It is also possible to pay via credit card but some of the apps do not accept non-Peruvian credit cards. [An aside: I use cash only and give a tip, so one day, it was with some surprise that I found my purchasing blocked because I “owed” two cents. This must have been a typo, but, I still had to email for several days with the customer service center (that’s when I found out that Glovo is a Spanish company). They did erase my two cent debt, but this glitch in their system lost them a regular customer for a month.]
It is not just restaurant food that can be delivered. One can also buy groceries and other items. After the day in Wong when I saw that Rappi had their own shoppers and a dedicated cashier, I started using Rappi for heavy deliveries (after I learned that 10 pounds is the weight limit for a Rappi delivery). The apps also have features where the client can repeat a previous purchase making it much easier to find that pepperoni pizza (Antica has the closest to U.S. style pepperoni — not the pizza, but the pepperoni).
For a person with no car, it’s worth using delivery service rather than spending the money on a taxi. That said, delivery time is usually 40-60 minutes but it is also possible to make appointment times for delivery (even up to several days in advance). I have heard horror stories of people waiting for hours for a pizza, but haven’t had too many of these experiences myself. More annoying to me is when the product is not available and this then leads to “communication” about replacement products.
While many drivers find the armies of Rappi and Glovo deliverers annoying, one of the positive outcomes is that many of the housebound (I heard about a widow who now uses delivery instead of venturing out in traffic), have the commercial world at their fingertips. Home access is not new to Lima, as the bakers, knife sharpeners, and others have been making their rounds since the invention of the bicycle. Probably longer. The white carts contain baked goods.
On a funny note (or “first world problem” category), because many of the delivery boxes are carried as backpacks, often the food will have slid down to one side (like the aforementioned pepperoni, which I have found all bunched up with the cheese in one corner of the pizza, making a get-away over the crust).
Ramen is more than just instant. It’s gourmet too. In the previous year, I went hunting for gourmet ramen in Lima… A Nikkei food festival is happening this weekend in Lima so you could go hunting as well. Below is what I found on my search:
Tokio Ramen: Probably the best in Lima. It’s all by itself over in Jesus Maria. **** update October 19, 2019**** Tokio Ramen has opened a new location in Miraflores: Calle Coronel Inclán 235.
Noruto: Was a reliable go-to place for my Nikkei friend (Nikkei refers to the Japanese restaurants as well as the Japanese-Peruvians).
Kaikan: the ramen was actually better than at Norutu, even though the restaurant is part of the same chain.
Takuenn. Tried sushi. Soup not a thing.
Maido: this is often the best restaurant in South America (according to 50 Best Restaurants) but it is Japanese fusion so they also have ramen. It is served with a large rustic ladle, but I didn’t think much of the soup.
Tzuru: I can’t recall so I think it says it all.
Cosme: When I saw the ramen on the menu, I had to order it. It was not good. I ate the pork belly but that was it. When I didn’t eat it the rest, the staff took the dish off my bill even though I didn’t ask them to.
Korean restaurants: The Korean restaurants have ramen as well. I’m guessing that it is also made from instant noodles. The Koreans make a popular version of instant spicy ramen.