Lima is a city of fish eaters. The advice is to eat the freshest fish of the day. But, what is it? Usually, the waiter explains that it is a local white-fleshed fish. Here is list of some of the fish I’ve seen served in restaurants here in Lima. I’m not a fisher so most of my research is from the worldwide web and my local subject matter experts (who are better than Google!). Also useful sites were the FAO and this blog.
In Peru, there is a lot of fruit (as in Colombia). The other day, someone asked me what fruits they should try here in Lima. Here’s my list of “local” fruits to try in Lima:
- Lucuma: orange colored flesh and a green or brown peel. It’s got a taste that is very special, but the closest I can think of is a sort of butterscotch pumpkin flavor. Truly a Peru specific fruit.
- Aguaymanto/goldenberry: These are the yellow fruit with the size and texture of a cherry tomato but a flavor and tartness all their own. These have a carapace which makes people think they are mini tomatillos.
- Maracuya: Here in Peru, the passionfruit is a common juice choice and used often in a pisco drink. It’s got a heady fragrant drive-you-mad sort of aroma. The purple wrinkled passionfruit that is sold in the U.S. was created by “marrying” the tumbo and the larger passionfruit used in South America. (top right in the first photo – a large yellow fruit cut open in this photo)
- Granadilla: these are shaped like maracas and in Colombia, the kids crack them open on their foreheads. Then suck the snotty seeds out or use a spoon. (lower right in first photo, cracked open)
- Camu camu: another fruit that everyone says is good for you. From the jungle. Small plum like fruit used for juice. (see drawing in lower photo)
- Cherimoya: also called a custard apple in other parts of the world. (the pale green things next to the avocados)
- Tumbo: the older form of passionfruit. Considered the “male” or “dad” when someone created the wrinkled purple passionfruit. (it’s a cucumber shape in the middle of the top photo)
- Mamey: Or zapote, is a bright orange pumpkin textured fruit the size of a melon. (to the right of the pepino melons below)
- Aguaje: these look like brown armadillo eggs. Inside the fruit is bright yellow. I was told, by a taxi driver, that these fruit are “good for women and that in the jungle, homosexuals will eat them to become more feminine”. (see drawing at bottom)
- Tuna: is it the fish of the desert? Tuna is cactus fruit of which the Dragon Fruit is the flashy but less flavorful cousin.
- Pepino melon: a smallish striped melon. (see photo above with zapotes)
- Sauco: is elderberry
- Platano de la isla: It’s what they call the sweet banana (as opposed to the plantain type of banana). A “seda” or silk banana is like the bananas in the U.S.
Of course, there are many other fruits here like mango, pineapple, and mandarins, which are also delicious.
As I find my photos of these fruits, I’ll add them. So check back! I will try that aguaje!
Then there is also noni which has a cheesy aftertaste.
As 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.
That 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?
I didn’t expect to find a good sushi restaurant in Santo Domingo (sorry, don’t be offended, DR!) but I did. Shibuya is located on the ground floor of the Blue Mall (one of the most expensive high end malls in the city) and it is part of the SBG restaurant chain. SBG has a cafe on the same floor. While Shibuya is Japanese, the dishes are a fusion of Japanese-Peruvian dishes.
First, yes, they have a Japanese chef… for those who use this as a marker for a good Japanese restaurant. I don’t think he works every day so I imagine that sometimes the Japanese food is made by non-Japanese hands…
The sushi place has excellent sashimi (raw fish like the salmon in the first photo — a double portion), tiridito dishes (Peruvian “carpaccio” of fish — thin slices with sauce. See the photo of the fish in the yellow sauce, above.), and ceviches (classic Peruvian style in photo above, with deep fried sweet potato deep and Peruvian corn). Many of the other dishes are good as well, as are their cocktails. I liked their “tuna tartare” which was like a large portion of Hawaiian “poke” (raw fish salad mixed with soy sauce, green onions, sesame seed oil, and chili or mayonnaise… you get the idea) with extra ingredients.
I ate that this restaurant more than ten times and had almost everything on the menu. Their fried rice is super crunchy. I think they toss quinoa in it to make it extra crunchy.
Another surprise at this place is their coconut cake dessert. Not at all Japanese, but is a nice nod to the Caribbean. Try it! I wasn’t convinced as I recall the straw texture of desiccated coconut… this cake tasted like warm apple pie.
As for this place being the best sushi place in the DR, I didn’t eat at too many sushi places but this place was so good that I looked forward to eating there. Who needs to go anywhere else? It’s not this local fish place…
I didn’t go fishing in the Maldives but I did go to the fish market in the capital, Male. It was not a very large market but it was located on the wharf and the trade was brisk. Yellow fin tuna is a popular fish in the Maldives. Can you imagine swimming with a school of these fish?