We asked fellow travelers and SA Expedition team members to tell us about their favorite part of Peru. Today’s post comes from the talented food expert and blogger Morena who writes about Peruvian cuisine.
“What is your favorite part of Peru?”
When I was asked this question I thought I could come up with a million answers, and the truth is, I did. So let me reformulate the question to "What is one of your favorite parts of Peru?" This way I won't feel bad to leave all the other beautiful and soulful places I have in mind out of my answer.
Markets are definitely at the top of my favorite things about my colorful country. I have lived in many places, and wherever I go, one of the first things I do is explore the markets. For me, getting to know the local food is one of the best ways to learn about the culture, traditions... even politics of the place.
There's certainly a special place in my heart for Peruvian markets, because of the magnificent diversity found in them. My favorite market in Lima is the organic farmers market called La Bioferia. When in Lima, I usually go on Saturdays to Reducto Park, in Miraflores, where I spend the morning breathing fresh air and practicing yoga amongst the trees, chirping birds, and sunlight. After that, I step out of the park, and do my weekly grocery shopping, as the farmers set up their stalls right next to it, and transform the small street into a joyous place where like-minded people, who care about their food, the planet, and each other, join to celebrate life.
What I love the most about this market in particular is the amount of Peruvian superfoods one can find. Quinoa abounds. So does kiwicha, kaniwa, camu camu, aguaymantos, sacha inchi (the nuts, the oil, even in lotion to use as moisturizer), pink salt, maca, yacon, and so on. Not that one can't find these products in the other amazing markets of the city, but in this one you can be certain that the produce is 100% organic, and you always find those ingredients in new and exciting presentations.
The environment gives the feeling that one could be anywhere: spontaneous musicians playing happy tunes, laid back people (including many health conscious tourists and expats) hanging out, and lots of ready-made food offered so one can then sit in the park and have a picnic. But then one glance at the Andean woman selling bread from Cuzco, at the nun offering tejas (a sweet from a small town South of Lima), a look at the table of arts and crafts made with huayruro (an Amazonian seed for good luck), or a taste of the locally grown chirimoya or aji amarillo, and we are immediately brought back to the reality of the place where we are. This is magical Peru.
Author bio: Morena Escardo is half of the mother/daughter team behind Peru Delights, a blog celebrating the food of their country. With both a traditional perspective and an open mind with a healthy twist, they join their passion for food and writing, on a mission to promote Peru’s increasingly popular food around the world. They are the authors of The Everything Peruvian Cookbook.