A Taste (or 2 or 3) of Peru Close to Home

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A Taste (or 2 or 3) of Peru Close to Home

For those wishing to try Peruvian cuisine, there are two options. The first involves a costly 25-hour journey on at least two planes. The second option may be more feasible for those travelers of taste with lighter pockets: a nine-day Peru Promotion held at the Grand Caf?of the Grand Inter-Continental Seoul Hotel. The food fair began on the weekend and will continue until Sunday.

A Peruvian chef, Augusta Mendiola de Gereda, and her assistant are busy preparing lunch and dinner buffets featuring such Peruvian dishes as marinated octopus scented with garlic and olive oil, marinated snapper in lime and chili, fresh cheese peanut salad flavored with herbs, Peruvian style rice, pork stew and duck simmered in beer. Real Peruvian spices were used to ensure an authentic flavor.

Seoulites at last have the chance to sample popular Peruvian dishes. They include anticuhos de corazon de res, a kind of grilled beef heart kebab marinated in a typical Peruvian sauce. The meat is tender and full of zesty flavors.

According to the chef, Japanese-style cuisine and cooking techniques are very popular in Peru, leading to interesting combinations of Latin American and Japanese flavors. She recommends her shellfish dish, cevichitos de corvina (marinated raw white fish cubes with lemon and cilantro). This is indeed a fabulous fusion of Japanese-style raw fish and distinctively Peruvian seasonings made from the popular Peruvian spice aji and fresh cilantro. The crayfish salad, made with fresh fava beans, white cheese, rocoto, aji, corn kernels and onions, is called solterito arequipe, a combination of fresh vegetables topped with seafood.

The exotic flavor of cilantro, which provides Peruvian dishes with their distinctive flavor, becomes almost an art form when it is used in seco de res con quinoto (Peruvian-style beef stew seasoned with cilantro paste and two kinds of aji), which is served with tacu tacu. That is a grainy yellow cake from Peru that resembles Indian cornbread and is a perfect partner to the rich stew.

by Inae Cho

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