Unfortunately I was too much of a ‘fraidy cat to be able to answer the question. Enrique was very keen for me to try guinea pig and I wish I’d been faster with my lens as we drove by some stalls with roasted guinea pigs trussed up in display.
It was Sunday and I was informed that a roasted guinea pig is a Sunday dinner staple. Apparently guinea pig was part of the staple Inca diet. It’s usually the most expensive item on the menu. What I learned on the Sunday drive was that the guinea pigs on menus in Peru are not the tiny pet rodents you likely imagine. I don’t know what they feed the guinea pigs in Peru but they grow up to look more like a miniature suckling pig!
I may have passed on the guinea pig but I ate ZERO pizza and noshed on local produce everywhere that I travelled. And there is lots of wonderful food in Peru so it’s easy to eat really well.
I’ve already mentioned a couple of places. Another culinary highlight was my surprise chef’s tasting menu! I had been lured in by the promise of prawns flambéed in Pisco. Aquas Calientes is full of pizza joints so I didn’t ask to see the menu until I was already seated. That’s when I discovered it was a four course tasting menu with no prices…
But I had just been hobbled by my “trapped on the balcony” experience so I wasn’t keen to do a lot of aimless walking… especially since the vast majority of the offerings were pizza J
It ended up the first course was quinoa quiche floating on creamed corn accompanied by prawns flambéed in Pisco. It was showy and delicious. There were two choices for each course. My next treat was crema of lisas with alpaca jerky; accompanied with native potatoes and Huacatay oil. Lisas wasn’t translated on the menu and it doesn’t google so I am guessing it just means smooth and creamy. A crema is a creamy soup, one of the big treats of Peruvian cuisine. Anyone with a love of potatoes (like me) is in for a joy ride in Peru where there are so many varieties. Apparently huacatay is an Andean herb.
For the main course, I had trout. The other options involved mushrooms – mushrooms being the food in know in 20 languages so I never make the mistake of eating them, there was no other choice. But trucha in Peru is a delight – and you should eat so much you don’t need to translate it anymore 🙂 As you can tell, I had them photocopy the menu for me because it was so delicious and I wanted to remember the details so it was trout fillet topped with meuniere sauce, accompanied by polenta gratin and grilled vegetables.
By the time I got to dessert I needed to run up Machu Picchu to wear off all the calories so I went for the tartare of fruits accompanied with bananas flambéed in Pisco on a fruit coulis. The more indulgent option was Quillabamba’s Chocolate Passion accompanied with ice cream.
The meal was phenomenal… and when the bill finally arrived… about $35. And I even tried some Peruvian wine! (I would recommend the Peruvian pisco and the Chilean wine…)
The restaurant is called Manka and it’s in the Casa del Sol boutique hotel in Aquas Calientes. a great luxury option that I am sure costs less than the Sanctuary Lodge.
The meal was quite amazing. The restaurant claims to be celebrating Peruvian cuisine and it certainly lives up to its word. So many of the special foods of Peru all in one meal! Trucha, prawns, alpaca, quinoa, potatoes, corn, local herbs, chocolate, bananas and flatbread! Writing about the meal brings back such spectacular memories. The service was also first rate and I sat beside the bubbling Urubamba River as I stuffed my face with all of this delicious food at a leisurely pace 🙂
Peru is definitely foodie paradise. Fresh seafood all over the country. Local specialties. A mind-blowing variety in corn and potatoes. It feels like a grand adventure in fine dining even if you forego the guinea pig… next time 😉