Photo: La Mar
As far as South American cuisine goes, there is none more famous, tasty or more cunningly marketed than Peruvian, where mountain-high piles of citrus-doused raw fish have made ceviche a household name the world over. There is, of course, much more to Peruvian cuisine than raw fish: Lomo Saltado (stir-friend sirloin with spices, tomatoes, onion and French fries), Ají de Gallina (cheesy, chili pepper chicken) and Causa (mashed potato dumplings) are tasty favorites, but are merely ubiquitous introductory dishes to this complex cuisine full of regional variation and locally-sourced ingredients from the sea (black shells, green seaweed) to the Andes (quinoa, Andean legumes).
From Mexico to Chile, the Latin American countries of the Pacific Rim are not only linked by the common body of water, but a specific culinary tradition: Ceviche.
Ceviche (also spelled cebiche) is a dish which can be served as an appetizer or a main meal. It is traditionally a seafood dish with a distinct citric-based sauce, usually lime, and served cold with accompaniments.
If you have been to Peru you may assume, incorrectly, that ceviche in Ecuador will be similar. Not so. Peruvian ceviche is prepared fresh, the fish is raw and marinated only with lime. In Ecuador, it is more like a chilled soup.
Photo: Lance Brasher
They are sworn to be cures for hangovers and catalysts for sexual performance. They are warm, cold, light, heavy, simple, and sophisticated. And they are the beginning of any respectable meal and the final word for those who wish to understand the art of mankind´s oldest culinary tradition: the soup.