Do Ceviche as Lima does
Traditional Ceviche at Punta Arenas, Chorillos
Ceviche (lime-marinated fish or seafood) is no doubt coastal Peru’s most popular dish, from the northernmost shores of Tumbes to its farthest southern tip, Tacna and of course, the capital Lima.
In summer, to combat the heat and as the piece de resistance, in lieu of typical “heavy” Peruvian dishes, the ceviche is your best bet to please the palate as does beer, its perfect match. For the non-alcoholic, the favorite drink to down ceviche is Inka cola, Peru’s national soft drink, more popular than Coke and Pepsi combined.
Types of Ceviche. The most common preparation is the ceviche de pescado (fish), chunky slices of marinated fish usually served with canchitas (crunchy corn) and chifles (banana fritters). For this dish, any kind of white fish, most popular are sea bass, sole or snapper and from the river like trout or cat fish, are prepared, with its classic complement– cold boiled sweet potato or cassava, heaps of julienne onions, boiled corn (kernels or on the cob)topped with aji & rocoto (Peruvian chilies) and marinated in a lot of Peruvian limon (green lime) juice to concoct the “leche de tigre”, (tiger’s milk) purportedly said to cure the most extreme of hangovers and an aphrodisiac.
Next to the pure, all-fish ceviche is the Mixto – a merry mix of mariscos (sea food) to include shrimps, squid, pulpo (octopus), conchas de abanico (scallops), conchas negras or any shell fish, cockles or mussels available. You can simply order singular ceviche of your favorite seafood: Langostino (shrimp), Calamar (squid), Pulpo (octopus) or concha negra (mussels).
Lima’s novo cuisine now serve Ceviche de Champiñones (mushrooms), where instead of fish or seafood, fresh button mushrooms are used.
Variation. Tiradito is an alternative from the ceviche, except that instead of chunks, fish is sliced thinly, slivers served in a variety of sauces, such as red aji or yellow aji, (in tri-colored presentation), but without the julienne onions.
Cevicheria. Any given Saturday or Sunday, Limeños troop to their favorite Cevicheria (seafood restaurant) to relish this dish. Almost every block of each district has a Cevicheria, from its lowly shanty towns to the lofty exclusive districts, Lima’s posh and poor alike savor the flavor of ceviche. Personal favorites in Lima are Cebiche Bar and La Red in Miraflores and Punta Arenas in Chorillos where Lima’s locals from crafty congressmen to famous football players do ceviche with mucho gusto!