Friday, July 16, 2010

First Week pt. 2

The first night here we picked up half a rotisserie chicken and French fries from the supermarket around the corner. Yes, the supermarket! The chicken was juicy and roasty and great. But the French fries were AMAZING. They sure know what to do with a potato in this town. Not greasy, perfectly golden, crispy on the outside and meltingly smooth on the inside, these were some French fries that put France AND Netherlands to shame (and there was no mayo involved, thank goodness). Did I mention I got them from the supermarket?

I think I’m going to love this city. I already am enjoying it, the combination of familiar elements and complete newness is appealing and comfortable. It reminds me strongly of Mexico City: the colorful old houses next to modern apartments next to crumbling and abandoned buildings of indeterminate age and purpose. Lima is vibrant and friendly, the people are polite and helpful, but thus far give somewhat crap directions. Maybe this is because every street seems to have a counterpart on the other side of the district, a twin with the exact same name, but none of the addresses we’re looking for. This is ok, because everyone knows wandering leads you to the best food, but I can see how it might be difficult if I actually had to be anywhere. Lima also reminds me of San Francisco, because it sits on the cliffs above the awesome beauty of the Pacific Ocean and thus benefits from salty, comforting sea breezes all day. It is also foggy by 3 pm if not before, and that in itself is guaranteed to make me feel at home.

I am already learning here, simply because navigating a Peruvian menu is daunting. I don’t know what any of this food is, it all sounds strange and exciting and supremely different from Mexican food. To start with, the native ingredients are quite distinct, including a variety of potatoes I wouldn’t ever have contemplated, incredible seafood, some beautiful corn and a bunch of different chiles. Thing is, they all have different names than these things do in Mexico, so I almost feel like I’m learning a new language to describe them all. Corn is neither elote nor maíz, but rather choclo. Chile isn’t chile, it is ají, and there are many different colors and intensities of spice used in the food. There is this natty bell pepper type thing called rocoto, it is spicy despite its innocently familiar look…

No comments:

Post a Comment