On our last night in Lima we decided to leave the boys at home with the grandparents and enjoy a much needed adults only evening. We met up with C’s close friend Lucho who is the BEST person to go eating with. His knowledge of food is excellent, his enthusiasm is infectious and his appetite – endless.
He suggested that we go to Awicha which currently is one of his favourite spots in town. Located in an old colonial house in Barranco, Awicha has a homely yet sophisticated vibe to it. It is a small and intimate restaurant specialising in contemporary Peruvian cuisine. Apart from the warm and welcoming décor, the most striking feature of the restaurant is its central kitchen which dominates the dining room – jutting out, a bit like a Captain’s wheelhouse – and allows the chefs to be part of your dining experience.
As you all know by now – ever since I met C, and he introduced me to the wonder that is Peruvian cuisine, I have been completely and utterly hooked. What came as a surprise to me when I first visited Peru in 2011 (read about my adventures HERE!) was not only how diverse the country is in terms of its population but also how this diversity is represented in their food, especially in and around Lima! Peruvian cuisine has fully embraced, adopted and modified the flavours from the Andes, the Spaniards, the Chinese, the Japanese, as well as Africa and the Middle East.
One of the most memorable trips that I have ever made with C, was when we went up to this tiny Andean village where C’s nanny comes from. It was an unforgettable trip and definitely one that made a huge impression on me.
C’s nanny, Magna took C up to her village a few times throughout his childhood to visit her family. When C grew up, he continued making the journey visiting her family, and usually bringing with him donations and toys, and in return they lavish him with food and love.
Since visiting Peru for the first time in 2011, Lima has quickly become one of my favourite cities in the world. I am aware that this point of view is not entirely objective as ‘C’ is Peruvian and grew up in Lima. Hence every time we visit, I am taken to his favourite places and introduced to his favourite people – which makes a huge difference when getting to know a city.
However, I have now been to Lima 3 times, and each time I visit, I feel more and more passionate about this seaside capital, and can increasingly see myself living there (does anyone else notice what a big statement this is coming from me?..!). Now on the flip side, I have only ever been there in the summer when they actually have some sun, however, ‘C’ assures me that this only happens 8 weeks a year – and the rest of the time Lima is shrouded in a thick fog! This could significantly change my mind….
I have received far too many complaints that its been awfully quite here on the Travelling Chopsticks for a number of months, and I apologise. Although I’m not going to go into any details (as that would just be far too boring and tedious) but it was a combination of travelling, wedding planning, lack of inspiration and general funk that I did not managed to bring fingertips to key board for several months.
However that is all about to change and what better comeback recipe than Lomo Saltado. Lomo Saltado is a classic Peruvian dish, which for me is the perfect example of Peruvian cuisine and its diversity. An absolute testament to Peru’s Asian influence which so surprised me when I first got to know C. Essentially it’s a stir fry with strips of beef, onion, tomato, soy, vinegar and potatoes giving this dish a wonderful aromatic flavour yet a punchy kick with the aji (Peruvian chili) and vinegar. Keen on reading
Well this weeks cooking efforts was abruptly halted on Sunday when our temperamental old oven decided she had had enough and blew-up. Yes, you read it right – our gas oven had a small explosion!! Luckily, the only casualties of the blast were ‘C’s ‘ leg hair – which were singed to black stubs, and the stench of burnt hair permeated through the apartment! Keep Reading