Food in Peru

Peru Post 7: Food!

Peruvian Food

People will surely ask me what kind of food I ate when I was out in Peru.  I never really know what to say (it’s even harder for me to describe what I eat in America,) so I figured I would just take a bunch of pictures and let you figure it out.

Before that, I do want to say something about food customs.  When it comes to food, it almost doesn’t matter how poor they are, they will make sure their guests get enough to eat.  Most people worry about starvation when going to impoverished areas, but I had to worry about my stomach exploding with all the rice, platano, and fish I was getting stuffed (platanos are like bananas, but firmer.)  I don’t each much in the first place either, I never really have, so getting the food down has been quite a struggle.

I ran into some trouble a few times when I got enough, but I wanted just a little more (since the food is almost always delicious).  I’ve learned that I’m better off just living without the extra bit because if I ask for “un poco mas” (a little more) what they tend to give you is twice as much as you had the first time.  This was funny at first, but it’s caused me enough pain and suffering that I don’t really enjoy it beyond the gratitude I have for how well they seek to take care of me.

The biggest trouble comes when they’ve fed me without first finding out if I even had space to eat.  Every once in a while I’ll have eaten a meal somewhere, and when we arrive somewhere else the host or hostess insists on giving us a full fledged meal.  I always feel terrible in these situations because I really can’t finish it.  I would love to be able to man-up and just get it down, but few people are willing to hang with me for the 2-3 hours it takes me to eat that quantity of food.

So, in case you thought I was starving out here, guess what, I’m not.  Here’s some pictures of the delicious food I’ve been gorging myself with!

White rice, green goo, and brown goo food
This is pretty typical.  Rice, some sort of green stuff, and a mix of meat and vegis and stuff.  You will quickly realize that I haven’t learned the names for most of it, but most of you don’t speak Spanish so it really doesn’t matter.
Clams, Paiche, rice, and goo food
I had this one at a restaurant.  The stuff on the left is clams and Paiche, a large fish that lives in the Amazon.  This was incredibly delicious, and actually tasted extremely similar to seafood in US restaurants.  Probably because of the clams.
Fried Fish food
Being a hardcore city-slicker, I don’t think I had really ever eaten a fish like this.  The first time I was given a whole fried fish, I asked the lady how to eat it.  She said that you “just eat it!”  I don’t think she comprehended that it was possible for me to live 23 years and have only eaten fillets.  It’s not my fault, my mom doesn’t like seafood so she never made it for us.  Plus, I didn’t fare so well the few times I’ve been fishing.  By the third fish I managed to figure out how to eat these suckers; the tough part is getting around all the little bones that form the rib cage.
Yellow rice, potato, and other food
The stuff on the right is a cheesylike mix with rice, and the stuff on the left is a meatier mix with vegis.  It was also tasty.
White rice, meat patty, goo, and corn food
Rice, corn, some sort of goo, and a meat patty.  I thought my meat patty days were going to be behind me upon arriving in Peru, but it turns out they have them here too.  They just don’t use them for burgers as much.  Heck, they don’t use them much at all, I’ve only had this dish once.
Chicken and Rice food
Some sort of rice, some sort of meat.  I’m pretty sure the meat is chicken.  Umm…also note that I use a fork to eat.  Pretty cool, right?
Boneless fish, boned fish, and green goo food
Rice, goo, and two fishes.  One is a boneless fillet on top of the rice, and the other is a fish that still has its bones in the bowl on the left.  The hostess told me only to eat what I could, not necessarily trusting my ability to work around the fish bones.  I got through some of the bony fish before I had to throw in the towel.  The bones were fine, I was just too full to keep eating.
Torta food
This is a torta!  Basically, a piece of cake, though a tad thicker than cake.  I got this from a lady I was interviewing in the city of Noe where I’m doing most of my work.  She runs a restaurant out of her house, so you know this cake was good!
Flan food
This is flan.  I apologize to my mission family friends, but I never really liked the flan, but this stuff was good.  It tasted far less like egg and far more like sugar and jelly.  I don’t think anyone I’m facebook friends with ever made me flan before, so hopefully no one feels sad to find out that flan in Peru is better than flan using US ingredients.  It’s not their fault, it’s America’s.
Rooster soup food
This is a soup, but with a rooster leg.  I’m pretty sure it was just called Rooster Soup.
Rice, egg, potato, goo food
I don’t really remember what this was, but as you can see, there’s rice, an egg, some potato (the flat things under the egg,) some meat and vegis, and olives.  Also, note the spoon.  I eat with a spoon sometimes.
fish, rice, and goo food
Another thing with rice, goo, and fish.  I suppose I should clarify here that although I call it goo, I mean that affectionately.  The goos are often my favorite parts.
Turkey food
This is a before picture.  I missed taking the after picture since I was sick when we ate Mr. Turkey here, but it sure was delicious.  It lived in the back area.
Rice mix, avocado, shrimp food
Rice with shrimp and avocado!
Yogurt and cereal food
It’s stupid, but this is one of my favorite things here.  It’s strawberry yogurt with knock-off frosted flakes.  I know, I come all the way to Peru and my favorite things is modified breakfast cereal.  It’s probably just because I don’t get many sweet things while I’m out here, and this is one of the sweetest.  It’s the special treat of choice of the family I’m staying with.
Chicken, rice, vegis food
Chicken, rice, vegis.  It’s not actually normal to eat with a fork and knife.  The family I’m with uses spoons almost exclusively (except for spaghetti) and meat is often eaten with fingers.
Causa food
This is called “cuasa,” the Spanish word for “cause.”  Apparently this was all the troops had to eat when fighting for independence or something, so they kept saying that they were eating it “for the cause.”  It was tasty, but I can see how they would get really tired of it after a while.
Ceviche food
This is ceviche.  The (in)famous fish doused in lime, vinegar, and spices.  It was good, it tasted like lime and vinegar.
Guava food
In the backyard of the family I’m staying with, they have this “guava” tree.  If you Google “guava,” you’ll find different fruits than the one depicted here, but they keep calling it “guava,” so I’m gonna go with it.
Guava food
As I found out by experience, you don’t eat the seeds.  They’re really gross.  What you do eat is the white stuff around the seeds.
Guava food
Here’s the white stuff.  It tastes very fruity, sort of like grapes.  It has the texture of a cotton ball coating a small piece of something.  Sorry I can’t be more specific, you’ll just have to come try it.
Rice, beans, onions food
And let’s end it with something super typical.  Rice, beans, onions, and jello.  I was sure I was going to return home an enormous fatty, but I have recently discovered people doing Insanity workouts on Youtube that I can follow along to exercise.  Thank goodness.
I hope that clears up what I’m eating out here.  I might do another post of this, perhaps with more information on exactly what the goos and meat combinations are.  Just know that it’s pretty much all tasty.

Keep seeking truth.

You may also be interested in:
Peru Post 8: Other Health Stuff
Peru Post 6: Death and Disease
Peru Post 4: The Work

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