Criolla Food in Peru

Papa rellana ready for frying, above bags of choclo. 

Peru is also a “melting pot” and the Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Italian immigrations added to this pot. But what did the Peruvians eat before?

The original inhabitants of Peru ate the foods that today are called “criolla” or creole. I think of “queso y choclo” — cheese and corn — when I think of local food. The “queso fresco” or fresh cheese is just that, non-aged cheese so think feta but not salty or sour (which feta should not be, but that’s a whole different discussion.) Some creole dishes are tacu tacu (refried hash), beans, habas (roasted fava bean snack), rice with duck, papa rellena (large stuffed mashed potato croquette), tamales, soups (sopa criolla is a noodle soup with cubed beef and milk), butiffara (a pork sandwich), and anything with an egg on it. Every single restaurant will know how to make a delicious home made soup called “sopa dieta” which is what would be called “Jewish noodle soup” in other places. It’s a soup that can cure all.


A word about “dare” or “scary” foods. Guinea pig or “cuy” in Peruvian is convenient and easy to raise. A Peruvian told me that traditionally you would only be served a portion — not the whole thing with head frozen in its death scream. Cuy, pronounced “koo-wee” is more common in the mountains. Yes, one can also eat alpaca, llama, vicuna, and other camelids. And, the one that people always seem to “dare” tourists to eat — the suri worm or maggot. Maggots are fatty sources of protein (According to experts, bugs could be the protein of the future). Many cultures eat bugs — crickets, grasshoppers, ants, and so on. But, you don’t have to eat it. Many modern restaurants will serve cuy or llama in a way that you might find more palatable. At Astrid and Gaston’s, the cuy is served as a mini Peking Duck bite. My “word” about scary or dare foods is that you don’t have to eat them. Many Peruvians don’t. There is so much available that is much more delicious.

The weirdest thing I ate in Peru (no, I didn’t eat the maggot) was a vegan “jerky” stick. So odd. I don’t know what was in it, but it wasn’t criolla!






Food in Lima – 100 Dishes

lAkyX9n0y5B4hXlrRyuweqDlhQMJgy27i1HrHdEnD0aTszZU86au8Fzc9xvEcrIW-CSZJ9DaaNgKqXXAcJUZgVSkoeCo5vHc3-_oq-jCBnWv7MDoBNI4_Zpavhly6kd24EkiXWmjphGjoZpoEr3dzdC4tA-Iui9uNakT9OEImOcaRg8yOCWsIiELhkAs I did 100 restaurants in Dhaka and 100 new fruits in Colombia, I intend to try 100 dishes in Peru. It will not be difficult as Lima, Peru, has become the “it girl” of food destinations (including a ten-day annual food festival: Mistura). I have already tried 50 or so dishes so I could aim for the 500 in Gaston Acurio’s book, but I am going to include new and fusion dishes and not just home cooking.

Hqq1GtF6298Id2lEVl4hYvgowCNnJzmoCnI0-nYTyP8mn-K2driJ4TFcX9O2QxoaBfBLi90kbJJ_xIYQhh9jxrCE2nvfwJhNVECsa-yE9X27R7eW_aInSu8mTpCtDH5FGC0wN6ZZO9AOWKXV8LCgSDc046eBMGGWAjnORYt57NV5Dawr3lPOSALemNThat said, I start with including photos of a “criollo” or “creole” soup of meat, noodles, and fried egg (can be had in lots of restaurants. The addition of a fried egg to a dish tends to make it “criollo”). Plus an uber modern dish of sushi made with raw tuna and foie gras (from Osaka restaurant). The photo doesn’t do it justice. You will just have to go there and try it. You may feel the earth move.

100 dishes. Are you hungry yet?


De Bess Ah Trini Speak, right Gee?

d5at5vc4VhV2C5nHKqUOXbbrEa9bzt2tDlI4kruynGQ3w1DJkiEbEWhCXTySmohpY5mll_p452RlsxkHhOHmkOoIGsNGoKTIhFMC2-bhCG190niLON8XpIY58bzAoNkOP3t0l6IeO1DJmb-lGWXd8OL_PXCjUd2NyWXdGEgAObAAGApv8tGPuNFC7-This post is not about the best of Trini speak. I haven’t heard enough yet to know what the best phrases might be. What I do know is that I don’t understand the English here in Port of Spain. I’d say that my comprehension is on par with my Spanish comprehension… well, they might be neck in neck. (I almost felt relief when talking to a guy in Spanish! If three sentences counts as talking.)

O7tnlozpiesZQVkRsgbN-YAZCiOfUGKqPG1JrEGLDP7wo2e1O0NIJB4KKmDMprkNsfBe4Y5Sw2PbeFNd88z4poVZequPmHYlQQzDN7XNJ5ZHTCvheigC1fP9hl9cgsUiJKnq2HMwsgLKfzXmvoYJEtfzSYoDGcbEWJrFgT98LSn8wFP9rYXN-kwEOiThe Trinis tell me that it’s because they speak fast. No, they don’t. They use different vocabulary, different grammar, different spelling, and they have a different cadence. In other words, a different language. They remove “then” and other prepositions (is that what they are called?). Or how about “the best food in tongue” which must mean “best tasting” or not?

UTtPySP7d8oXMjrGTNIwtw3GqjuVg4T1Yi3Vk_sdcVlqM07fg6lhuihChp8DzJfNVasHaottV5tj35NPcK1xEveB1pxMHcCbPW2pqM_K1LFf91wyGrqkS8UUwXUEsksFLryVHPTqPik4Gu2jJo4tZw-Pv0n4kkD8fTya5cm5jZmuRU8oEGL16KmHWCOther than terminology like “lime” and “whine” there are many other words in daily life that are used which I can’t recall right now. I wish I could. One phrase that I wrote down was, “A good bit of us” for “there are a lot of us.” Sounds like British but without the accent.

The food vocabulary is easy to learn (bodi is long green beans) as that’s a matter of memorization, and many of the words have an origin that is typical of Trinidad’s cultural influences. Bodi probably originates from the Hindi word and was likely introduced by the South Asians.

atdjzIOw3_8VhLbOHW663vXaoc0FLR15Nmfdy7KGhxt36Uvtr_e4mVN-MYHz6QT8YXKVqHsXyDrCoujwOfxDfAaEzuTuH_wR_SKNlOQe72QdC8rAzEwoVjZ2PjKvqGZCvQ0XZJF1seKPTrmnkcMWgY2fZf7VXS1019ctBSs3HvZdyJgNSGyjfRp1gyAnd then there’s the spelling. See that “best” is now a woman’s name, “bess.” And “ah” for “of” as can be seen in the soup sign.

Linguists could have a field day.

Ya dam right gee. For de bess ah tongue.

Or something like that. I have no idea! Habla espanol?