The Fish Market of Lima

MV5OWt0RjLjSqNoWHe-zzqeA3ONECsqov1N2X-ZAZQ5dnGwy62_arolE8Fk3F6DMYOUnQjayEp-JI9qCPaVjw1g0Q8ybWS6EWgesjQAbQM2-djHnzc4xfQBq1pZ8D3mIb9kcPJqKdws7VqwZiZydphp2dEEKdS95RJMKtDDta2ksnsD6oMMN4i4IFVVisiting the fish market of Lima made me miss Bourdain. But, I went in his spirit. The Terminal Pescuaro or wholesale fish market is where the restaurant owners shop for the freshest fish of the day. At 4 in the morning. The market is open from 4 a.m. to 1 p.m. every day. It’s located out in Villa Maria del Triunfo. As a foreigner, visiting any place that sounds like a drug mule name… in the middle of the night… is not a good idea.

4973k3HqTo__WIAiAUlcuMFKp1mZ2UlBjsTBrcLCqpXcsgrDMCjKwk5feLr6JIMOrsgZeoC1QMueMzRxFCgKvRvBD6NvRONLAsmamO4NKxUl4S0N-VzbrfRfHaqOexR45gSZHIPNaAHr_waqtpoVSydXA_ZI2Mf8cB5IGhU14FdbiAHie8e-MaVBDLEven though I could see from the online photos that it didn’t look like a picturesque place, I still wanted to visit. The prices are good (2 bucks for a pound of fish). Apparently, one could get some fresh ceviche in the food court above the fish terminal. That sounded fresh. Right? In order not to give my Peruvian friends extreme heart palpitations, I hired a local from Villa Maria del Triunfo to pick me up, drive me, guide me, and stay with me at all times. People said to wear rubber boots. If you have some, you could. But, then, also, wear a rain coat.

FgZRK41PctwyElVkQi7HgtsNwcnQgK6huDJLWrW-RKTGKbUjHIRtQ9qElumEVt7aMq723JAtJUebMs_G6Y6OrIAeVDIQTPHKDqcYPBmX61hgbv-M452lsy3LkhFBlFV74SmZorg5mPt7vhGtzwkxYY-WSbXHteUPUyDJx7Cy2LG-PauMtWy9dgvXXmWe arrived at 10 a.m. long after most of the fish was sold. The hall is more of a hangar and it’s a wet market with slush and ice on the floor. Trucks are parked inside and most of the fish is in blue plastic flats, some packed with ice. It’s not pretty and it smells of fish. At 10 a.m., there was still the bustle and hustle of any market, but the fish looked only slightly more exhausted than the fishmongers. Therefore, I did enjoy when one of the fishwives sashayed to me and asked me straight up, “what are you looking for?” (An aside: I kind of like it when sales folk also add a “love” or “my queen” at the end of the pitch). Another salesman jumped in and the sassy fishwife didn’t like it! She pushed him aside and they almost got into fisticuffs.

q3Ufbwsz1UYr66aqN69rAoYqZFii1BFq4nkpd56oHVuzcq6ot9e7bnFx_M7UXKR21dtWf2gYE2u0G5ntyVe3TbeNtTSJob2RWZ_LJ6gPJmlAC6IjJ9MAjZFGGjtyHe8iuCQzW7xisZmIEoN7NLu8rwDLnNT9XSm7_hdCWqlhpsmLQMayzcNbHKbVLiAs we walked around, the fish vendors went about their business and I got touched by a few dead fish along the way. Hence why you might want to wear a raincoat along with your rubber boots. I wore neither so I smelled like fish. Old fish.

When we got around to the end of the market, we saw that there were other items sold at the market as well, including limes and other items for ceviche. Afterwards, we went upstairs to eat fresh fish. When we went upstairs, we were surrounding by sharks. These sharks were ladies who swarmed around us trying to get our business at their food stall. Really pushy ladies. I liked it.

bYbteVRHDykPEdre5R-2rxB7LDZn41yJ8L8RsnlFLcJVMZTFMhqF3yomyPOZ8XJfPnF1LcUEjn7ms1l2t5vfkH9uiq-b1Y0qy6TbJ-J1tD_UwAaRglenYp9M3NP_mqRtTX3EKQCvfCYs5wlLWHfrN0a0KzLF90Tm4hzP8dLcnMDxTvPcYFwsu3lZRrAs the food court was right on top of the fish market, we naively hoped for fresh fish…. We ordered leche de tigre (the lime sauce resulting from making ceviche), chupe (soup), ceviche, and deep fried fish. All of them were fishy and I did not find them edible.

YG7vWJ9yHHlNzaPlmnFNYwiw3kXfV66axevIDe7oRIrz0z8Dh5C8GvnZkoY5VgeV1fm0yX8q0bQuG96352KeRsiD9pFL-MS-b9isLwcJomwHEOzYxvcH2N7Vz7S6nIsiCtNH1Sob-kbY3zqzNZQI7uMdumiELc_6P1sg1XpxYda3plp5JfwNIySnW4Overall, I enjoyed the outing, but I’ll write about where to get fresh fish another time. For now, go fish.

Maracas Bay, Trinidad, West Indies

IMG_4476Probably the most famous outing from Port of Spain is the beach at Maracas Bay. It’s about 35 minutes outside of the city along a windy hilly road.

IMG_4468The view from the viewpoint is not the only reason to stop. There are chow stalls where you can try the famous “pineapple chow.” Chow is a dish of fruit in a brine with shadon beni (culantro) and chili peppers. They also make chow with green plums, mango, and cucumber. The pineapple is the best with its contrast of juicy sweetness, salty brine, and slight spice. All the basic electrolytes in one bite!

IMG_4460Maracas Bay is a popular beach for the locals and it’s a good place to hang out. There are lifeguards on duty, a good thing considering how fierce the waves the day we went.

IMG_4484For a foodie, the reason to go to Maracas Bay is to eat “bake and shark” or a fried fish sandwich. This sandwich was made more famous by Anthony Bourdain. The most famous place is Richard’s with the many condiments including pineapple chow. Uncle Sam’s is on the beach side and overlooks the beach. You buy the fish sandwich and then put on the condiments of your choice from garlic sauce, tamarind sauce, pepper sauce (pureed scotch bonnet peppers), slaw, pineapple chow, mayonnaise, etc. The sandwich reminds me a bit of po’ boy sandwiches.

IMG_4482

The Corner Colmado – With Delivery

The “colmado” is a thing there in the Dominican Republic. It’s like a corner drugstore or a bodega… basically, what you need, or want, you can get at your local colmado. They deliver. The important thing is that they deliver beer. Really cold, icy, beer. “Bien fria” is the phrase for an icy cold beer. That’s easy Spanish. So, if you find yourself at an Airbnb or some other place here, get the number of your local colmado, and learn the phrase “bien fria” so that you can get your beers delivered. The colmado will deliver anything they have to your home. Even a single egg.

sm2_RAGnEBaotENYvaUtsxLzF41-z7plZ3_1Puf_1kszttpJkCC-2s-CQ8nnuTLVi-oSqCRMSKF8FtqKZT4ZpB6_Fje3X8qIobPF_lBFFh7XhYjVdayZ8E-AKab7zBcolpLqUIONmDVK1AlwENN7NmyPm8SesCN6OjIpb1LJXiFOvgJ8wmqVcoei_TThere are colmados on every street, which is hard to tell from my blurry photos out of the car…

For the Dominicans, this is their local pub, bar, local watering hole, hangout, a place where they go after work, on the weekends, to get a “bien fria” and chill. Maybe followed by some dancing. Not your stuffy organized “dahnce” but just the pop-up impromptu salsa that happens because your feel it in your feet, your arms, your soul. The music is in your DNA. And it wants to get down and express itself.

The Dominicans will turn any place into a party, from their local gas station, barber shop, corner store, and so on — into a place to chill with beer and dancing. Not just their colmado.

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The German Butcher – Santo Domingo

cyx-x2bmFSuPLKhvULzBVF0Z7e4aypsMdUNYLCfW2Cw0oktUK2GV3KlBKusza3lWdeUQPWgk66BszbDwsdIDUeZOu7cpfRM2f_cBm4P2onHmCCXUvujh2MbPfr43muE1ooKqDCiLDWiyzGdm2QB0QwVVXlvUJlAQA4W2aoB0XIG8W-CipxBshxR8AcThe larger than life Jamaican woman is the event. Sure, go for the ribs and potatoes too. Plus the German beer. But, mainly, it’s a good place to drink and carouse. Carolina, the Jamaican German who owns this place makes this one of those places where you feel welcome. (If you like fancy places, look away now.) 4IfY3rgceTBzv52wtBVsnyg1-JMDvIZU_hPoU63Yq_2YXCOoAIJvktbfLg5V6jTXmuyRxu3_-IFawD3rf61Sl8rx-9CVs6hsZOWfOvzReaKSGqj-TqI6CzznQ_zJLpii70LC7tvd3GXntrP23Z1ad4LZRKn7sC13vO39CYiVuGYEUuAY-nS-bzNo3kIt’s a self service sort of place, or rather, self order. There are various men and boys, like the baker’s son, who will deliver your food to you, but you order stuff inside. This is a place where the water is the most expensive item on the menu. A lunch plate for two of ribs and potatoes (split open like hot cross buns and soaked in chives and butter), with meatball thrown in, cost around 545 pesos ($10). The potatoes are golden mega-nuggets of comfort. dKyW3Z0F5ScYrVCE2B2_a2ZgPcuqOMqagSa4dCGyirfHzM23BSUxqVfX6ttvA2QKaROvBCtd90BnQL9Dvpish3l-W6e6HNqmpZZTDGmdabD6F7d3OEpxR4P3K_wPdEfCQbbKmzyBO27WjGYF5W0cIu0FJsYBrLJJPw3YjCeqpuXGfklwXNa2sDDDu1Carolina (great name for a lady who serves barbecue) serves grilled ribs, sausages, meatballs, and she sells them too. The addictive potatoes are the accompaniment, and when she remembers, there is sauerkraut. The only sauce is a sweet mustard, unless she remembers to make a chili sauce. When I asked for chili sauce, she brought me the tiniest chili peppers (they were under an inch in size) to chew on. I did. equF8p2QC-z4cMp90v8eGMDR2Dgrxo8KRz11pbiwraaeYdwW7z94B5Zwj4KH5bQSQDdKPi474sF8kryvDKXC-YxymlDezd6wq-u-vxxqdXzl50AHVa1yNfbfJQnhnILwYj9BsvJqGehy0KCTA6ATRcLqYboEw91fR-2AhaXSP1oWJRixdo7PyQwSOuThe location is on a street off the malecon (coast road): Calle Hermanas Mirabal, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. This place is easy to find on Google. Once you find the street, the restaurant is a few hundred yards up the street, next to another stall. The German place is quite large with a small beer garden feel. There are lots of fans and shade to keep you cool if the icy cold beer doesn’t. Inside, you order your food at the deli counter and the beers at the other corner. They will keep track on a chit and you pay when you leave. Not sure about credit cards as I paid cash. Inside, the German Baker had a table set up selling his breads. He sells pretzel bread and many other items.NVQSSpyyO7z3DETLop7Ubg-IgttbdQgqSj3oE7Xh_BItfsI35xfrtpER9AUHbdG7u2I1pYx3FSHS-4SMBFR21ZRoJZeixa8LEIz5ViokrvuRLEmX_XqGPA03Lhj2WTxaLtPtrCY5kAykAjrOm1kBjipFSKj1sr5pZVb3soqn2OROOoGHIZPq7syDMXYou can’t miss it as Carolina will be the LOUD large lady yelling and singing in Spanish, German, and English. She likes to talk dirty and flirt in a big way. If you get there before noon, she may be less racy. May. Be. She does thirsty work so we bought her many a beer and she sat with us, in between bursts of hugging, dancing, or yelling!G4O-1szHb3JClupnPexDTRYgR_SZbv1XTWS129bHm1un25vj4SecDzr8o1mjRhGgigITtTIIpJjIqQ3NL-ZcvgxXB8fFCt31VtdPxKEfueiIylnW8snOEhm6KcauhQ7Wrg07_fuC4Yg1EapsMPM7VgupIPjyf-OEBSPo9iyMKTDnd11-dNFd7Snv6mSometimes there is entertainment, other than Carolina, and that will bring about more carousing. Despite this place being “famous” — it doesn’t feel super touristy. Maybe because Anthony Bourdain hasn’t been here.gucL1lJ-qUxTveLWr4Nbitq16LLWqfQd9PwAh_DfamRlORCDVJCnp2-Vei98_2jb6M2vhzfKOPeDfqyUzUikXHvuxS9uYMVezbI_7T1dq6mJ4hYBdv78nWmUiKkvgLY18owc9MnLl0lRxXjrZcg3kINNb8XoSrHbBAnaG-FzjM5E9P7yPNMrcW_laoIf I lived here, I would probably be here every Saturday. EqHVIBHIwgvEEHOiBIeJuE72323iPlIEP3nw8hYxSKmbl-6Gg4LNYWT6IffXhm__tSe4A-NXmrUAkypUsDdF5jsvh6AaVZlD6a7MQaH9yBNGoeQvxyLyhvdlgU14t95ufZPmP2YXE2yHMqfQJC--iQaRtz__0zkEsUCjaZks5xY4u7ALbvoGksk0sE

10 Iconic American Eats In Washington, D.C.

Recently, some of my Bangladeshi friends visited the U.S… which made me think about iconic American foods to make them try while visiting D.C. The following are some of my recommendations.

1. Krispy Kreme: Who does not love a freshly fried yeast doughnut, hot and fresh from a sugar glaze waterfall?

2. Five Guys and Shake Shack: The last decade has seen the rise of the new hamburger restaurant which makes me happy. Freshly made with fresh French fries – it sounds simple but we, the consumers, put up with so much less for too long. Five Guys is a nationwide chain that started a few miles from D.C. and if you have peanut allergies, you must stay away…

A burger from Shake Shack.
A burger from Shake Shack.

3. All-American classic restaurants and bars: These are classic modern restaurants and bars in the “old boys’ club” style of dark wood, etc. — The Hamilton, The Lincoln, and also Old Ebbitt Grill, the Willard, and Ray’s the Steaks.

4. Ben’s Chili Bowl: Visitors like this historic place which has recently become a chain and it will soon be opening a branch at National Airport.

5. Honey Pig (noisy Korean BBQ restaurant), To Sok Jib (hole-in-the-wall Korean restaurant), and Bon Chon Chicken: Annandale, Virginia is a well known Korea-town but Bon Chon has just opened a branch in Clarendon. There is also Lighthouse Tofu which serves more than tofu and Oegadgib which serves all-you-can-eat Korean including shabu-shabu (shabu-shabu are the words you should say to time how long you swish your meat in the broth to cook it.).

6. Pho soup: Eden Center is a little Vietnam in Falls Church, Virginia, where the restaurants serve pho and other Vietnamese food.

Vietnamese pho soup, fried rolls, and summer rolls.
Vietnamese pho soup, fried rolls, and summer rolls.

7. Ravi Kabob: It’s a northern South Asian/Pakistani place that is “hole-in-the-wall” and serves delicious food. The most famous local chain is Moby Dick’s.

8. Edy’s Chicken or El Pollo Rico: It’s Peruvian style rotisserie chicken. Anthony Bourdain went to El Pollo Rico but I like that Edy’s serves yucca fries. There are also several other Peruvian style restaurants in the area where you can explore some of this world famous cuisine, although I’m still waiting for the celebrity chef level restaurants to open.

9. Ramen shops: This is a fairly new trend in American food, thanks in part to David Chang of Momofuku, and I like the trend. Yummy, homemade soup. It doesn’t seem like a big deal but it is.

10. El Salvadorean food: Try a fresh pupusa as the El Salvadorean population begins to emerge on the culinary scene (there are not that many Mexican places in this area but Jugalita is authentic).

Of course there are also many Ethiopian restaurants to try and loads of food carts serving all manner of new American foods (Korean kalbi taco, anyone?). Every new group of immigrants contributes a new flavor to American cuisine.

When tourists visit the U.S., many want to try Chipotle and other famous restaurants. I recommend using Yelp to find the locations. Speaking of American foods, there is, of course, pie, lobster, grits, collard greens, chicken and waffles, barbecue, etc. to be had here in D.C., but, maybe I’ll write about that another time. And not to forget, I’ve done some research and it looks like there is only one Colombian restaurant in the area… y claro, por supuesto, voy a visitarlo.