So, if you’ve read my last post you know that I survived hiking the Inca Trail for 4 days. If you’re too lazy to read it, here’s a quick recap: Other than climbing a lot of stairs while chewing on leaves used to make crack cocaine, there was a lot of planking involved.
While we’re on the topic of death and survival, I also wanted to say that much to the chagrin of my lovely friends, who were too hypochondriac to even drink anything in Peru that was served with ice cubes, I ate a number of questionable items during this trip without having to ride the porcelain bus more than usual or having to be airlifted to the nearest hospital.
My number one goal before even setting foot in Peru was to try cuy, otherwise known to us Americans as guinea pig. Their role in Peru as pet or food seemed easily interchangeable. Given how plump and cherubic they looked alive, I was taken aback by how little of it was edible and how rat-like it looked on a plate. And yes, it tastes like chicken, a very skinny chicken. 60 Soles / $24 USD for one whole guinea pig, guts included.
Moving on to less morbid subject matters! Italian food! Apparently Peruvians love extra cheesy pastas and pizzas. Italian joints can be found peppered throughout Cusco. At some point during my hike to Machu Picchu, someone tells me about the infamous Peruvian frog juice, also known as jugo de rana. It’s a mixture of…well…blended frog and fruits. After returning to Cusco from Machu Picchu, I set off to find frog juice but was derailed by my lack of Spanish speaking skills. Instead, I settled for a bottle of Inca Cola and some mysterious black tea (2 Soles / $0.80 USD). I should probably count myself lucky, as even the locals wrinkled their noses at the thought of this strange concoction when I tried to ask them where I could buy myself a swig. A breakfast sandwich purchased on the street just outside of San Pedro Market. (2 Soles / $0.80 USD) Lamb and mashed potatoes for just 10 Soles / $3.90 USD at the stall called El Sabrosito inside San Pedro Market. The mashed potato and the sauce were heavenly. We had a very fancy meal at a restaurant called Uchu in Cusco. Everything I ordered there was amazing except for what I thought would be the crown jewel: alpaca meat. It was too chewy and gamey for my liking, and this is coming from someone who craves duck liver pate on a regular basis. Welcome to your worst bread nightmare, the Tanta Wawa! The locals tell me that it’s Peruvian tradition for little girls to receive a bread baby on All Saints Day (November 1st). For some reason, little boys receive a decidedly less creepy looking horse-shaped bread as gifts to celebrate the day. Ironically, this was the only food I bought that I just couldn’t bring myself to eat. I guess doll heads are creepier than guinea pig heads to me. (6 Soles / $2.30 USD)
Last but not least, my favorite Peruvian fast food: Pardo’s Chicken!!! Freshly grilled chicken on a spit over a fire. If only all fast food tasted this good! I had it every single time we passed through Lima airport, which was very very many times.