The friendly policeman had some good advice. We had asked him where to find a group of restaurants at the Mistura food fair. He pointed the restaurants out on a map and then added, “Don’t eat too much.”
That is the temptation, especially at Mistura, where the gods of Peruvian food descend once a year to serve their specialty plates to the masses. And Peruvians, alongside foreigners, do turn up in large numbers for the event, now in its third year in Lima, Peru’s bustling capital.
Founded by Gaston Acurio, a chef who has spearheaded the popularization of Peruvian cuisine, Mistura brings together small stands run by the chefs of popular restaurants, alongside displays and sales outlets of things like gnarly, snakelike potatoes, pink and orange corn, or organic coffees. Racks of meat grill in the open air, while long lineups form by those wanting a plate of marinated fish, the venerated ceviche, made by chef Javier Wong, whose tiny restaurant in a run-down section of Lima doesn’t even had a sign out front.
Scratch any Peruvian, and you will likely find an avid, if not obsessed food fan. With good reason, the South American nation is blessed with some of the world’s richest fishing grounds, and has a large swath of the Amazon jungle which produces coffee and tropical fruits. The Andean nation is the home of the potato, and has the perfect climate for year-round harvests of a wide range of vegetables. Mix in the clash of cultures – Spanish conquistadors, Italian immigrants, freed slaves from Africa, and the indigenous Andes Mountains peoples – and the result is a cuisine that is becoming more well-known by the day.
According to an article by Robert Kozak on the Wall Street Journal, tourists are now flocking to Peru in general and especially to its capital, Lima, for eating tours, while the number of restaurants is expanding alongside its booming economy. Visitors and locals alike seek out the latest hot restaurant run by star chefs, or the small holes in the wall, known as huariques, that can also serve cheap plates of very tasty food.
All those trends mix together at the Mistura, where Humberto Sato, the chef of Costanera 700, a Japanese-influenced restaurant near the Pacific Ocean in Lima, held court this week, standing in front of a booth where his restaurant workers were serving duck with rice, and stirred noodles with beef.
“What we want to do is to have the most emblematic of Peruvian dishes become even more emblematic,” he told reporters. The organizers of the event are now aiming to make Peruvian cuisine more well known internationally, in part by inviting chefs from outside of Peru to take part in the event. The organizers expect some 200,000 people to attend the food fair, which runs until September 12.
Provided by Andina News Agency www.andina.com.pe