Seven Restaurants in Lima

Lima is a seventh heaven for food so perhaps that’s why there are so many restaurants with the number seven (siete in Spanish). Here is a list of the ones people ask me about:

Siete, Jirón Domeyer 260, Barranco (around corner from Isolina): high end restaurant.

Lima 27 and 27 Tapas, Calle Santa Luisa 295, San Isidro: restaurant and a tapas restaurant that is connected to the Lima 27 restaurant. (I didn’t like this place — the food was just odd in a not tasty way).

La 73, Av. el Sol 175, Barranco

Siete Sopas, Av. Arequipa 2394, Lince and second location at Av. Angamos 609, Surquillo: This is the 24-7 soup (they have nine soups — soup of the day and the two house soups — in the photo at top is the “sopa criolla” which has beef,noodles, and milk) restaurant chain by La Lucha Sangucheria. The location on Arequipa is the first. Their bread is kind of magical.

Where to Slurp Ramen in Lima

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.

Happy slurping!

Oh to Breakfast

yck49Lt6OkC5oorMFnaWCNYyCA9y3E4Totccbetqk-C41t3TAwsLHW9mmK2VhaGUD71Y07nBEI1FHwIgR0Bw6G3H9RDiR0F4ZCW_JKyxSjJSaIm60aCQlHYC2KQ9ppMHqCBRhhSO0PYj9sSRQM6FNid-Q1sgiZsgqrc1JHF6_e_egEffGRIMf7lIXBreakfast is one of my favorite meals (well, so are: brunch, elevenses, lunch, sobremesa, linner, high tea, supper, dinner, natmad “nightmeal”, and stumble-home-greasy-and-spicy-mouthful…). Some people consider eggs to be a vital part of a “breakfast” and others consider a piece of bread dipped in coffee to be the start to the day. In some countries, soup is it. In Vietnam, it’s pho (as in my photo from New Mexico, USA) and in Colombia, it’s a broth with rib meat and potatoes. In China and Thailand, the breakfast “oatmeal” is a rice porridge soup… I hereby advocate for more soup for breakfast!

And palta avocado! (It’s delicious in soup too!). Photo from El Pan de la Chola in Lima.

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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?

 

Best Ramen in Bogota

****** Update February 21, 2016***** The rising trend of ramen shops has reached Colombia. Here are the ramen shops I’d say are the best. Actually, Ramen Factory’s noodles and pork combined with Tokyo Ramen’s broth served at Tomodachi would be the best.

Tokyo Ramen, Carrera 11 and Calle 98. 12/13: It’s probably the best ramen shop in Bogota, and the restaurant is perfectly nice to sit in when slurping. They are not open on Saturday night (and maybe not at all on Sundays?). They have a variety of items to eat. I’m not a huge fan of their pork, a rolled style with a slightly porky flavor (and not in my favorite sort of way). They have a variety of types of ramen.

Ramen Factory Tokai-No-Men, Calle 93B # 13-65, Centro Comercial VEI Plaza (down the street from Parque 93, after the Andres kiosk, inside a courtyard that whose entrance looks like a parking garage). 11/13: It’s the far left corner of a covered food court courtyard. The broth is a whitish color and the noodles are chewy in that good alkaline way. I liked the pork here as it’s tender pork belly. But most people would not be impressed with the iceberg lettuce or lack of seaweed in the soup. Also, this is truly a hole-in-the-wall sort of feel (not elegant at all as it’s located in a food court). I liked the place. For those who care about this sort of thing, the guy working here is Japanese. His gyozo/dumplings are fine.

Tomodachi, Diagonal 70A No. 4-66 (turn up the little hill at Bagatelle, and it will be on the left just before the butcher), 12/13: This place has the atmosphere down perfectly. The broth is not special. And the noodles are too bland with a tendency to get overcooked instantly. They are open 12-3 and again 7-10, even on Sundays. Also, this is the only of the ramen places in Bogota that serves the eggs soft boiled. Yum.12716323_10153900139189618_6961970452263989506_o

Arigato, Calle 80 No. 11 – 28. 10/13: It’s a large restaurant and the service is fine. Feels like a chain restaurant. 12265966_10153716933019618_1713243912304424123_o

Sushigozen, Carrera 14 # 93B – 45. 10/13: I don’t like the their sushi but the bowl of ramen was okay.

Wok, various locations. 8/13: It’s not as bad as one might expect. It’s a chain.

I’ve also been to a restaurant called Ramen in Macarena. Not good.

Happy slurping!

Tokyo Ramen in Bogota

A bowl of ramen, salarymen in the background.
A bowl of ramen, salarymen in the background.

Yup, I found the best place for Tokyo style ramen in Bogota. The restaurant is located at Carrera 11 and Calle 98, overlooking the little park between 11 and 12. (*** update January 5, 2016 **** Telephone number is 609 09 59. They are open Monday-Saturday from noon to 9:30 p.m. and on Sundays/holidays from noon to 6 p.m.)

The place on the left doesn't get many customers...
The place on the left doesn’t get many customers…

They must cater to salarymen because they aren’t open for dinner on Saturdays, nor are they open on Sundays.

Fried cutlet on rice noodles.
Fried cutlet on rice noodles.

I enjoyed the soft tofu appetizer, the kontaksu (fried pork or chicken cutlet, here served on fried noodles as light as air), and the calamari which were soft and tender.

Fresh tofu, ginger and onion, and bonito (dried fish) flakes.
Fresh tofu, ginger and onion, and bonito (dried fish) flakes.

Some people would probably like me to keep this place a secret. Ooops.

Fried calamari.
Fried calamari.

Monsoon in Bogota

A few nights ago, I heard a strange sound through my open windows. It was the sound of monsoon rain. Before moving here, I was told that the weather in Bogota is the same every day. Always 60 F (15 C), cloudy with a chance of sun. Now that it’s October, I’m being told another story. In October, Bogota has a rainy season. Every day for a month, the rainstorms will last longer and may include thunder and wind gusts. And, the temperature drops a few degrees. But, I’m told that come December, the weather will be really nice again.A street in Candelaria, the old part of Bogota.

A street in Candelaria, the old part of Bogota.

This “cold” weather is perhaps the reason that soup is so popular here.

I wonder if there are monsoon weddings here?

Trying the National Dishes of Colombia? Ajiaco, Sancocho, Empanadas, and Arepas

Ajiaco, soup with chicken breast, guasco, rice, corn, and avocado.
Ajiaco, soup with chicken breast, guasco, rice, corn, and avocado.

Every place has it’s national dishes. Here in Colombia, if you ask, they’ll probably mention the two most famous soups: sancocho and ajiaco. Or the empanadas and arepas.

I really like ajiaco because it’s got cream on it and you can add your own rice and avocado (like bacon, avocado makes everything better). The distinctive taste and color of ajiaco is a herb called “guasca” which is translated into English to “gallant soldier” but I’ve never heard anyone call it that. It also has medicinal uses. There are many types of corn in the world. The cob in my soup was different than in the corn in the U.S. The corn that most of the world, outside from the birthplace of corn — the central Americas, eats is the small and sweet variety. This corn was starchier and each kernel was much larger (choclo, like what I’ve had in Peruvian restaurants). The way to eat the cob in the soup is to take the handy skewer, turn the cob, and spear the skewer into the end of the corn. Then it’s easy to bite the kernels off the cob. I’ll write more about the restaurant where I had the ajiaco another time.

Freshly deep fried empanada and salsa.
Freshly deep fried empanada and salsa.

Every country has a dumpling of some sort, sometimes boiled, steamed, or fried. The other day, I had a delicious fried Bogotano empanada. The sauce was surprisingly spicy. Everyone told me that Colombians don’t like spicy food. That may be, but this salsa did not take prisoners. Wowza. Eating these empanadas from a street stall reminded me of the fuchka of Bangladesh.

Inside is rice, beef, and chicken.
Inside is rice, beef, and chicken.

As for the arepa. This one was made of white corn, griddled and brushed with butter. Inside was a center of melted cheese. I didn’t actually like this very much as it had a slightly soured yogurt-like tang to it which I didn’t find all that appealing although I love that flavor in dairy products (more about dairy another time). I’ve had arepas before which were spliced and stuffed like sandwiches but this one was more like a pupusa. Will have to try others along the way.

Arepa, straight up with melted butter.
Arepa, straight up with melted butter.

Instant Noodle on the Street

This stir fried noodle stand was in Kuala Lumpur
This stir fried noodle stand was in Kuala Lumpur

One of the foods found almost everywhere is the instant ramen noodle. Except in India and Bangladesh. But that may be changing. I recently saw a commercial for Maggi brand noodles with the patriarch of Bollywood eating instant noodles. Ramen is a soup in Japan and Korea. To sell these in India, the instant noodle dish in the commercial was less soupy. Using the noodles for a stir fry is how the noodles are used in Malaysia (that magician at the night market made the best I’ve had) or Cambodia, and so on. Since the culture in South Asia is to eat with the hand, I would have thought that advertisers would push something handheld, but maybe that’s the next part of the ad campaign (this is not an advertisement for any brand). In the U.S., instant noodle is sold in cups making it easily handheld and easily eaten with a fork. Many other ways to eat the ramen noodle and 27 of those ways are here. One way not mentioned here is wrapped around prawns and deep fried like at Goong.

Why are instant noodles so good even if they are not good for us? It’s “umami” which is the Japanese word for that something special that makes food so delicious.

Umami making in Cambodia.
Umami making in Cambodia.