What’s Good Here?

If you have been reading my blog for a while now, then you know that one of my true passions is food. All kinds of food, weird and classic, traditional and experimental. Trying new dishes is my fuel, and it’s one of the reasons why I love traveling so much.

With that said, of course not all dishes are to my liking. Sometimes I will encounter a flavor that I dislike or something I never want to order again. But then again, here’s to learning with the experience! Am I right?

A few weeks back, Maxi and I traveled through Chile and Peru. We organized events for work, but we also found the time to dine out and explore city markets. The overall experience was very rich! Until I got food poisoning and had to eat white rice for three days straight (my own personal nightmare!)

This is a post that tries to compile the flavor highlights through Santiago, Valparaíso, Lima and Cuzco. If you have experienced them as well, please read along and share your own appreciations in the comment section. And if you haven’t, read away! Maybe I can convince you to plan a trip that will rock your tastebuds!

KID food tourChile pt. I: Re-Defining Cheat Day.

Here’s something I learnt in Chile: You shouldn’t wait for cheat day to indulge. I’m talking about fries on fries, ice cream inside your cocktail and overall, a crazy delicious experience that will leave you asking for more.

Let’s start with Chorrilleana. We went to the actual birthplace of this dish and waited in line for about 30 minutes before we could sit and order. And no, there’s no menu. And no! please, don’t ask for ketchup. What you get is what you get, and you should and will be happy about it.

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J Cruz M, a Valparaíso classic.

 Beef and onions, scrambled eggs and fries. If you have a hangover, I cannot imagine a better cure than this. If you don’t have one: just wait. Because this concoction is what accompanied the menu:

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Terremoto! (Earthquakes)

A special sweet wine, grenadine, pisco and a scoop of pineapple ice cream. All these elements together make up one of the most peculiar and dangerous cocktails I’ve ever tried. Why do I say this? Well, the name is Earthquake, and it sure feels like one. It’s so sweet and delicious you just gulp your way through it. And then… it hits you. When you try to get up it’s like they’re actually shaking the floor under your feet!

Chile pt. II: Under the Sea.

No wonder, most of Chile’s traditional dishes are fish-based. We went to the City Market a few times and could enjoy the fresh catch of the day, making up expensive and a little extravagant dishes. To be honest, I wouldn’t say these are the best plates Chile has to offer – but still, they were pretty good. If you go to the Market in Chile, make sure you explore all the options before deciding on a restaurant. Tourist traps are quite common and you could end up paying 4 times the cost of a plate just because of sitting in the first place you see.

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Salmon with a calamari and prawn sauce. One of my favorite dishes. In “Donde Augusto”.
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Paella – while the rice wasn’t awesome, the fresh fish made up for it.

Peru pt. I: Traditional and Modern.

To be fair, Peru should have its own post. Peru has earned its own post. Peruvian food is worth way more than just its nutritional value. It’s part of the culture, one of the main traditions that every city makes its own.

Let’s talk about some of the most popular dishes. Ceviche, for example. This curated and uncooked fish dish prevails as one of the staples of the Peruvian cuisine. Thanks to Pick Up The Fork‘s recommendation, one fine morning we headed to El Hijo de Olaya for our own taste of ceviche. And boy, it was good.

 

Ceviche with fried squid on the left, and regular ceviche on the right. There was nothing regular about it, though. The texture and flavors were so rich we were craving for more and more. But there were more things to try.

Anticucho, another Peruvian delicacy, didn’t catch my heart as I thought it would. (Pun intended). This marinated and then grilled meat is usually curated in vinegar and spices (such as cumin, ají pepper, and garlic), and while they can be made of any type of meat, the most popular are made of heart. Yes.

Hearts.

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I’m making this picture look smaller because it still makes my stomach feels funny. Guys, anticuchos are not to be messed with. Peruvians love them and can eat them anytime. Me, on the contrary, had them on the first weekend and couldn’t stomach them again during my stay. Ugh, I know. Weak Argentine.

On a happier note, look at this. Cerdo al cilindro, on the left and a delicious Lucha classic sandwich on the right. La Lucha is a secret that Peru kept from me for far too long. This chain can be found in several locations and it’s equally awesome in each one of them. It’s a sandwich place that offers a menu from noon to 3 pm, so make sure you catch it at least once: I swear it’s worth it.

Plus, there’s nothing like a Lucha sandwich to cure a Pisco Sour hangover. I mean it.

 

There’s a lot to be said about traditional food in Peru. And while we can only scratch the surface in this post, I think experiencing by your own terms should be the perfect solution.

Peru pt. II: An Italian Treasure in the Mountain.

Now, let’s move on to what intrigues us the most. Secrets. Delicious, cheesy secrets.

It was a cold, cold night in Aguas Calientes. This small town is the closest city to Machu Picchu, so people usually stay here for one night before or after the day trip to the Citadel. Maxi and I were walking around, looking for a place to enjoy our dinner. We had already gone up to Machu and on the way down, I had found out that my thesis was approved, so we had to celebrate.

Many waiters and waitresses were trying to lure us in their restaurants. Every place looked the same: Peruvian food, pizza and pasta for a touristy price. I don’t like when people try to lure me in, it’s usually a trap for bad food and expensive prices. So I rejected all of them. And then: there it was. A quaint restaurant, with a fireplace right in the middle, no one calling us from the entry. I look further and I see it: a cook kneading pasta right on the spot, between the tables. Another cook was baking pizza in a large brick oven. A gelato store in the front announced “original Italian flavors”. The scene was marvelous, the smell even better. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Is this real life?

We walked in and sat down. The waiter brought the menus, and everything looked perfect. Maxi ordered pizza and I ordered gnocchi. And, holy smokes, I’m not lying: it was the best Italian food we ever tried. {By the way: We’ve never been to Italy before, but as Argentines, we try our fair share of Italian dishes on daily basis.}

 

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We came back on the next morning. And then we found out they had another place in Cusco, so we went there while staying in the high city. I still think of that pizza whenever I’m craving one, and that’s very often. If you go to Aguas Calientes/Machu Picchu: look for Incontri. 


Have you tried some of the mentioned plates? What has been your favorite culinary experience in South America? Tell us in the comments!

Stay tuned to Kilo India Delta for more stories on the go. Right now, we’re in Penang! and planning a tour through South East Asia. All comments and suggestions are more than welcome.

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2 thoughts on “What’s Good Here?

  1. I am glad to hear you liked some of the food here in Peru. After living here 7 years, I still am not a fan of ceviche or anticuchos, though. I’ll pick the Italian every time. 🙂

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