Foodcation: South America
Ways to make me happy:
Make me food.
Buy me food.
Eating, sipping, gulping, tasting, chewing, slurping: Food and drink are such an inherent part of any cultural experience. Yet, despite having written several posts about South America, less than a third of them mention food. How have I not yet dedicated a post to one of my favorite things?
Let’s start with the sweet, the colorful, the wildly varied: fruit. Though common in South America, many of these fruits are just starting to find their way into North-American grocery stores.
Such fruits make their way into ice cream and pastries, providing so many new flavors that you channel your inner Cookie Monster. Here, we have some beauties from Rio’s Cafe Colombo and little shop in Lima.
Let’s home in on the culinary scene in Buenos Aires, where “good air” inspires good food. Check out Puerto Madero’s iCentral Market. Just looking at photos of iCentral dishes makes me sing with excitement.
Apple crumble, take me away! With oats toasted to perfection, sublime chocolate, and pistachio ice cream leaving you wanting more, what else could a girl ask for? Ooh, a submarino. You can’t visit BsAs without swirling a chocolate bar in hot milk to make, you guessed it, hot chocolate. Here’s one from Café Dorrego, in the artsy San Telmo neighborhood.
If you need more than sugar for sustenance, we could always relocate to Don Julio, a parrilla (grill) close to my heart…and my stomach.
Now my taste buds are getting spoiled. They’re calling for El Baqueano. If you’re familiar with “The World’s 50 Best Restaurants” list, there’s a Latin American edition listing El Baqueano as #13. Here, I turn into a heart-eyed emoticon. 😍
(If you’re intrigued by the Buenos Aires food experience and want some city context, check out this post.)
I understand if you’re feeling the need to diet at this point, so let’s opt for lighter fare, like ceviche –which you have to try in Lima– or…really, anything more basic than what we’ve been indulging in.
When in Lima, you’re likely to visit Miraflores, a popular neighborhood where we find Dolce Capriccio (where suits and jackets, some business-y and some scholarly, are as enjoyable to ogle as the food menu) and Sophie – a bistro that caters to carnivores in city that favors seafood.
Speaking of carnivorism. When in Peru, you might try the traditional cuy. Here’s one from Cusco.
If you can’t bring yourself to try that, you might instead opt for a Suspiro de Limeña – particular one served in Lima’s Huaca Pucllana, where you can dine with a view of an archeological site.
If you enjoy that, something tells me you like sweet and sour. In which case, you probably also have taste buds for caipirinhas, a traditional cachaça cocktail with muddled fruit. Here’s some of that alcoholic goodness (alongside the equally traditional feijoada stew) in Mercado Municipal, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
It’s not a far leap from market food to street fare, so we may as well try that too. Care for some tapioca de chocolate? Here we are in Praia Vermelha, Rio de Janeiro, at the base of Sugarloaf Mountain.
We’ve now eaten at an indoor market, a beach street…. Hey, how about a beach street market? Browse for souvenirs in Copacabana as you enjoy churros, fried and filled to order. Chocolate or doce do leite? If you can’t decide, do both! No regrets.
I’m perfectly fine with dessert for dinner, but if you’re the type to need a balanced meal, try Churrascaria Palace. Brazilians love barbecue – a passion that’s all too easy to understand here.
Oh look, caipirinhas again. This time, at Joaquina, in Rio’s Leme neighborhood. What better way to end a beach day? Go ahead: Try different flavors! You won’t find them better than in Brazil.
Since we’re on a cocktail streak, we may as well have some pisco sours too. Hey, when in Peru! We can test our bartending skills in Aguas Calientes, a town at the base of Macchu Picchu. Not a bad way to celebrate hiking the Inca Trail.
Have you had enough yet? I could share more of my South American food adventures, but you’re probably ready to have your own at this point. If I’ve inspired even just a bit of your foodlust, my job here is done. One last caipirinha for the road?
Wishing you a weekend of culinary delights,