Mercado de Surquillo – A Day at the Fruit Market

On a mission to buy some stuff to better equip my kitchen, a friend and I headed to Mercado de Surquillo to get stuff on the cheap.

Once inside, I noticed a fruit that I’ve wondered about since I arrived in Lima, having seen it in a few different markets. I asked the lady what it’s called and how it’s served. She said it’s called a chirimoya, and served in a juice or milkshake. I ordered the milkshake for 9 soles.

The chirimoya fruit
Making my chirimoya milk shake
The inside of the chirimoya
My chirimoya milkshake brings all the boys to the yard

It had a light taste, and not unlike a banana milkshake. I imagine a lil splash of vanilla would have been a great addition.

For lunch we stopped at a ceviche stall in the market called El Cevichano. I ordered the Ceviche con Causa (26 soles) and my friend ordered the Leche de Tigre (16 soles).

Causa is a potato-based Peruvian dish that is very similar to polenta in texture and presentation. Today it was served cold as a roll and stuffed with a mayo and fish salad (like a tuna salad).

Both dishes were amazing – I had a couple pieces of his fried fish, which was cooked to perfection.

Leche de Tigre with tempura battered fish and banana chips
Ceviche with Causa
A spicy ají served with our meal
A fish broth was brought to the table before we ordered
The menu at El Cevichano in Mercado de Surquillo

After lunch we wandered around the market so I could take pics of the exotic fruit and wares.

The tropical fruit came in every colour and size, and I’m going to have to learn more about Peruvian selection of fruits and vegetables – especially the varieties of potatoes. Yum.

Bolicheria 2335 – Amazing Cevicheria in Lince

Bolicheria 2335, located ½ a block from the Mercado Lobatón 1 -Lince, was where I had my first ceviche dish after arriving in Lima.

What looked like a small 6 table restaurant, was deceptively large, with a second dining area located behind the kitchen.

I ordered the Cusqueña Negra Dark Lager, which was more like a Porter than any lager I had before, costs 10 soles for a 630 ml bottle.

Cusqueña Negra Dark Lager served cold

A snack of banana chips and cancha chullpi, a fried corn that’s not unlike corn nuts, accompanied by a aji dipping sauce and lime arrived shortly after the beer.

Banana chips and Cancha Chullpi

That was followed by a small bowl of a seafood broth with green onions – although it wasn’t more more than a fish stock, it was an excellent way to warm up my palette for the epic ceviche I was about to feast on.

I ordered the Combo Mixta for 34 soles, and I was surprised by the portion size when the waiter brought it to my table. The combo consisted of 3 separate dishes – a ceviche, a seafood rice, and sweet potato and corn.

The Ceviche Mixta at Bolicheria 2335

I was half expecting a fried rice, after seeing so many Chifa restaurants in Lima, but it was more like the consistency of a risotto than fried rice. It was creamy with a saffron colour, with calamari and shrimp mixed in with the rice, which also had green onion added presumably for colour.

The ceviche had shrimp, calamari, and large chunks of fish along with diced spicy red pepper and slices of red pepper and green onion. Leche de tigre, the lime juice that cooked the fish, filled the bottom of the bowl of ceviche – and it was so good I could have drank it as a shot (with vodka).

I was also expecting the ceviche to come with tostadas, but that’s more of a Mexican thing than Peruvian. It was meant to be eaten as is, without a tostada, and I was fine with that.

The menu at Bolicheria 2335

The accompanying sweet potato and corn was served cold, and when mixed with some ceviche or its juice, was a great combination. While I was enjoying my meal I saw an older gentleman pour his banana chips into the ceviche, something I’ll have to try with a future ceviche meal.

Bolicheria 2335 is definitely a place the visit if you’re in Lince and craving ceviche, and it’s worth the short trip in you’re in neighbouring San Isidro. Although I dined in mid-day, I’ll be back in the evenings for their whole fried fish and some of the other dishes served later in the day.

Pizza Rock – Home of the Guitar Pick Shaped Pizzas in Miraflores

Situated just 2 blocks from the Malecon de la Marina in Miraflores is Pizza Rock, the rock themed pizza restaurant with a dog-friendly area for diners that bring their dog.

I was planning to order a pizza to go since I was walking my dog when I passed by the restaurant, but they welcomed us both to the dog-friendly zone: a covered patio with a pop art decor. They even had dog food on hand to feed the pets that come into the restaurant – a nice touch.

Inside Pizza Rock’s dog-friendly area
Pop Art adorns the walls of Pizza Rock

Their menu consists of burgers, salads, and pizzas. I ordered the Che Pizza (36 soles) – red and orange peppers, grilled chorizo, onion, chimichurri.

When it arrived I was surprised by the shape of the thin crust pizza, which was guitar pick shaped. A great idea for a rock themed pizza place.

The guitar pick shaped pizza at Pizza Rock

The pizza was delicious and filling, with lots of big chunks of grilled chorizo and vegetables. The chimichurri was drizzled over the cooked pizza prior to plating, and added a nice splash of colour and flavour.

It was my first time trying chimichurri on a pizza, but it won’t be my last.

The music was pretty much rock, and while I was there I heard Green Day, AC/DC, and oddly enough Britney Spears (Oops I Did It Again).

Pizza Rock is worth checking out if you’re in Miraflores and craving a pizza or burger; and if you happen to find yourself getting hangry on an extended dog walk along the Malecon de la Marina, your four-legged dining companion is certainly welcome.

The Diner with No Name in Miraflores

Walking around Miraflores looking for a lunch place to check out, I stumbled upon a diner that didn’t seem to have a name. Located at the corner of Jose de la Torre Ugarte and Gral. Mendiburú, was a small restaurant with a menu that had 8 or 9 soles lunch – soup and an entree for 8 soles, ceviche and entree for 9. I chose the ceviche with a papa relleno (stuffed potato) as my entree.

The diner with no name in Miraflores.
The ceviche featured octopus, a white fish, peppers and red onion.
The papa relleno was deep fried to perfection.

The ceviche was a fair sized portion, and included octopus and a white fish, along with red pepper and red onion. There was a garnish of sweet potato, which is becoming my new favorite garnish. It’s on a lot of dishes, and whether served hot or cold, a sweet potato rounds out a plate nicely.

The papa relleno was mashed potatoes stuffed with a pork stew before being deep fried to a golden perfection, and then drizzled with a cream sauce. The entree also came with a white rice and salad. Drink was an iced camomile tea.

When I went the restaurant was full of construction workers from the neighbouring jobsites, and it’s easy to see why. This place is so good that it doesn’t need to have a name.

Ñu Fun – A Bountiful Selection of Chifa

Ñu Fun Chifa is a chain of restaurants throughout Lima that specialise in Chifa, the fusion of Peruvian and Chinese cuisine.

Expect large servings when you go to Ñu Fun, but not much in terms of ambiance. When I went there was the Latin American version of Eurovision playing on the TV in the corner.

The food is plentiful with huge servings, and when I went I had the Chaufa with Tortilla, a chicken fried rice blanketed by a paper thin omelette that covered the entire plate.

The Chaufa with Tortilla at Ñu Fun

The dish went perfectly with the Cristal beer that I ordered, and my entire meal was around $25 soles.

Each menu item comes with your choice of fried wontons or a wonton soup.

I think I need to go back to try other dishes from Ñu Fun. With various locations in Lima, Ñu Fun shouldn’t be too hard to find.

Tarboush – Middle Eastern Food in the heart of Miraflores

Lima has an amazing food scene going on here, with countless restaurants specialising in food from all over the world, not just Peruvian cuisine. On a tip from a couple of Peace Corps volunteers, I decided to check out Tarboush in Miraflores.

Tarboush, located across the street from Parque Kennedy
Chicken Shawarma Plate was delish

It had been a very long time since I had Middle Eastern food, and I was craving a chicken shawarma plate before I even entered the restaurant. I searched the menu for it, and found it for $24 soles.

It came with a choice of fries or arabic rice, and I of course chose the rice. The serving of chicken shawarma was huge! And full of flavour. It came with a side of tahini and hot sauce, which I drizzled over the shawarma.

There was a side of undressed salad, which could have been better with a lemon dressing, or better yet tabouli.

I will definitely be back to enjoy a good shawarma, and next time I’ll order a side of hummus and pita.

Siete Sopas – “We’re Famous on YouTube”

If you did your research of Lima on YouTube, you probably have heard of Siete Sopas, the 24 hour restaurant in Lince that specialises in soups -a different one for each day of the week.

The thing you need to know about Siete Sopas is that it gets PACKED during the evening, and the best time to go is in the afternoon or late at night if you don’t like to wait for your food. With that said, it’s worth waiting for.

The lineup outside of Siete Sopas during the dinner rush
Siete Sopas in Lince – lunchtime is when to go to avoid the rush
This is a medium sized bowl of the daily soup
The infamous Siete Sopas menu

The soup served on the day I went (Monday), was a beef with pork and chicken breast thick stew. The medium sized bowl, 18 soles, was a huge serving of a stew that obviously took a long cooking time to produce a stew that’s so thick with such complex flavour. Rice and potatoes were also cooked into the stew, making it a full meal in a bowl.

Each meal is served with Pan Campesino, a homemade bread buttered on both sides, and they proudly painted that fact on the side of the building.

The stew was amazing, and definitely worth waiting for if you happen to go when there is a lineup. As mentioned earlier in the post, lunch or afternoon is when to go to avoid the rush.

I can’t wait to go back on another day and try the other soups. One down, six more to go.

Update: I returned to Siete Sopas on a Sunday morning at around 11am, when Av. Arequipa is closed to cars – and open only for cyclists, pedestrians, and skaters and rollerbladers. The restaurant was relatively empty, and it was easy to get a table.

Behold, the huge vats of the best soup in all of Lima
Av. Arequipa becomes a car-free zone on Sundays
The daily soup on a Sunday

The daily soup that day was a beef soup with chunks of turnip, potatoes, carrots, celery, and rice. As with my previous visit, the soup was accompanied by their housemade bread, a rye.

El Gailo Restaurant Cafe – The Place to Go for Lunch on Javier Prado

Located in San Isidro’s business district on Javier Prado Oest is the small and jam-packed El Gailo Restaurant Cafe. Go there during the lunch rush and you’ll be lucky to get a table, which I happened to score as another patron was leaving.
Their menu features 3 differently priced 3 course meals, and I ordered from the mid-priced fixed menu at 13 soles.

I ordered the Aguadito de Pollo, which was a chicken and potatoes with rice soup. The broth had a slightly green colour to it, and there were flakes of an herb floating in the dish. My guess was parsley was added.

The entree was the Churrasco de Res, which was a thin beef steak grill and served with rice and mashed potatoes. The potatoes were, of course, a great side to grilled beef, and the white rice was, well white rice.

The daily specials at El Gailo
Aguadito de pollo
Churrasco de Res with rice and mashed potatoes
MMM, Jello

 

Dessert was a bowl of Jello. The meal also came with passionfruit water, and I ordered a refill because it was so good.

The workers in the neighbouring office towers definitely go to El Gailo Restaurant Cafe because it’s a fast and inexpensive lunch. Give it a try if you’re in San Isidro.

MonteCristo – A Great Find in Miraflores

MonteCristo features a 3 course meal for $19 soles, which includes both Peruvian and Italian dishes on the menu. They also feature an a la carte menu with many other dishes, including Chifa items.

I ordered the Papa a la Huancaina as the appetizer, which are slices of boiled potatoes drowned in a mild ají sauce, served cold. I’m still getting used to this dish, which is a staple in many Peruvian restaurants, mostly due to the fact that it’s served cold. I hope in time I’ll warm up to the dish.

The main course was a mushroom Risotto, thick and creamy with lots of mushrooms. It was very rich in mushroom flavour and a thick consistency, and a fairly substantial portion for the price. The garlic bread that was served with the Risotto was used to clean the bowl after I had devoured the Risotto.

MonteCristo in Miraflores
Papa a la Huancaina
The Mushroom Risotto at MonteCristo
Chifa water with a purple corn gelatin with strawberry garnish

For dessert was what I assume was a purple corn gelatin because it tasted very similar to the chicha water and was the same colour. It has a slight bitter taste to it, and the flavour could be described as a cross between a blood orange and blackberry. The chicha water has a similar taste, but most places seem to sweeten their chicha water to remote bitterness.

For 19 soles you can’t go wrong with MonteCristo. They’re fast if you’re in a hurry, and reasonably priced for Miraflores.