Pica No Pica

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Three chili sauces. Only one is spicy.

“Pica no pica” is a phrase one hears here in Lima. It translates literally as “spice no spice”  but actually means “seasoned but not spicy.”

So not spicy on the scoville scale but flavorful.

I may start responding with “pica q pica!”

Jungle Allergy

I still think I’m allergic to the jungle. Here’s why. I went to the Amazon jungle in Peru and I was sick. The minute I was in the airport on my way out of the jungle, I got better. Heat allergy is called “heat urticaria” and I might have it. Actually, heat urticaria, is an allergy to heat above 109 F. This includes when the body reaches 109 degrees from steam rooms, hot showers, and spicy food! (And yes, there’s a condition where people are allergic to cold).

Chiles for sale in Bhutan.
Chiles for sale in Bhutan.

Or it might have been that jungle vegetable salad I ate…

A chonta, palm strips, salad.
A chonta, palm strips, salad.

The Chile Lady of Paloquemao

Not the chile lady.
Not the chile lady.

It took six months for her to smile. But, I find that sort of fascinating. The lady in the photo is not her but I liked her style.

Boxes of dried chiles.
Boxes of dried chiles.

When I moved to Bogota, I was told about the chile lady. It took me a long time to find her because Paloquemao market, while not immense, can be confusing because so many of the stalls look exactly alike. Now I know that she’s a right turn from Peter’s Chinese vegetable stall, located in the Chinese vegetable alley.

The Chile Lady was wearing a chile shirt last weekend.
The Chile Lady was wearing a chile shirt last weekend.

There is also a “Mexican” stall but I usually get my chiles from the Chile Lady of Paloquemao.