Though ceviche originated (and may have been perfected, depending on who you ask) in Peru, Colombia’s Atlantic coast has put its own distinctive spin on it – camarones en salsa rosada, anyone?
Cartagena’s diverse and excellent food scene has the challenge of trying to cater to locals and international tourists alike, which has led restaurants to try to outdo each other when it comes to this coastal favorite. Each place – and each resident — has an individual interpretation of what makes a good ceviche, and the possibilities, from Asian fusion to traditional corvina, are almost as colorful as the city’s famous architecture. These are some of the best places in the city to go to get a taste of the full spectrum of flavors.
Photo: Anthony Cordova Silva
The most many tourists will ever see of Callao (pronounced: cah:YOW), a city 30-minutes outside of Lima, is from the air as they are flying into the airport. Among Limeños, the city doesn’t have that much appeal, often seen as a dirty, overcrowded suburb where people live but outsiders rarely visit – with the exception of one well-preserved area.
Photo: Thomas Hobbs
Peru is the “gastronomic mecca” of the world. That, according to The Economist, a current affairs magazine that covers culture, politics and news. The prestigious periodical just wrote an in-depth piece about the somewhat recent Peruvian food debut onto the world-side stage.
Perhaps it’s the eclectic blend of flavors from the sea, the sierra and the selva, or maybe it’s the fusion of multi-cultural flavors alongside native ingredients. Whatever it is, Peru is in the spotlight and now its haute cuisine is even being exported abroad and served up eateries across the globe.
While traveling throughout each region (the coast, the mountains and the jungle) is the ideal way to taste each distinct dish, there may be a faster, easier way to savor the extensive menu. Until recently, Lima was just a layover city, a place for tourists to lie their heads before heading to Cusco and the Incan ruins of Machu Picchu. But now some 75,000 visitors stop in the capital city each year just to tickle their taste buds. If you plan on being among them, you are in store for a treat.
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.