Daring Tongues in Peru

GoNOMAD writer, Darrin DuFord, was told that Peru is not a country known for its cuisine. With a little bit of curiosity, DuFord dared to find out for himself if this was a fair assessment or not. So if you’re curious to see if cow hearts, guinea pigs, or jungle rodents [pictured here] are delicious, read all about them in the article Chowhounding Peru: from Anticuchos to Zaino.

“We tried all three for 19 soles ($6) at the restaurant across from the Ruiz Hotel while a swarm of hand-painted motokars (three-wheeled taxis) whined past the open windows, seasoning our plates with just a hint of red dirt and blue smoke. For those who don’t speak Spanish, one could always order lunch by pointing to the stuffed majás atop the shelf in the restaurant’s dining room.

The surrounding oxbow lakes (the ones not polluted by careless development, that is) and the Amazonian tributaries provide Pucallpan households and restaurants alike with fish such as doncella, a striped, antediluvian-looking critter known in English as the tiger shovelnose catfish. Its fleshy meat, which tastes similar to tilapia and branzini, grills nicely.

One might think that a cow’s heart, thumping a half billion beats in a lifetime, would end up suitable for nothing more than leathering a saddle. But after Peruvian cooks marinate and season strips of the cow heart with cumin and achiote, the strips become tender anticuchos, the popular skewered street treat found in charcoal-blazing food carts on the sidewalks of Pucallpa as well as the more familiar destinations of Lima and Cuzco.”