Callao/Lima, Peru  - Day 1

On the route between Manta, Ecuador and Callao, Peru, we had a bit of an adventure.  We encountered a fishing vessel in trouble.  We sent a tender over to find out what happened, and it turned out that they had a broken propeller and had lost their radio.  Our crew took some food and water to them and we contacted the coast guard so they would be picked up the next day.  It was good that we happened by when we did.

Disabled Peruvian Fishing Boat and Amsterdam Tender

We spent two and a half days at Callao, the port city for Lima.  On the first day we had an excursion called Market To Table, for which our group was very small.  There were five of us, plus a ship’s escort and our tour guide.  We went first to the Minka Market in Callao.  We’ve visited markets before, but it would be very difficult to find one to equal Minka.  It was absolutely amazing.  We walked through the chicken section to get to the fruits.  There was a wide variety of fruits; some we knew, some we had heard of, and others that were entirely new to us.  All of them were gorgeous.  Our guide, Omar, knows a lot of the vendors, so he was able to cut open some of the less familiar fruits for us.  

Fruit at Minka Market, Callao, Peru

We had a short visit in the fish section, which was amazing not only for the varieties of fish they had, but even more for the fact that it was so clean you almost didn’t know you were in a fish market.  One of the fun discoveries was that they have black scabbard fish there, a unique looking fish that tastes wonderful.  We had been told that one could only get black scabbard in Madeira, a beautiful Portuguese island.  It’s nice to know that it can be found elsewhere.  

The last section of the market that we spent time in was the vegetable section.  Peru has at least 40 varieties of corn, plus thousands of varieties of potatoes.  Even though we saw only a few of the potato varieties, it was still way more than we would see in even the most avant garde super market in the United States.  It is safe to say that we were blown away by this market.  You can see more photos in this photo album.

Restaurante El Señorio de Sulco, Lima, Peru

Our next stop was the Restaurante El Señorio de Sulco in the Miraflores section of Lima.  The first order of business here was a cooking demonstration by Ricardo, one of their chefs.  The first dish was Ceviche, where raw seafood is ‘cooked’ by marinating it in citrus juice.  This one had wonderful flavor.  The next dish demonstrated was Causa, a dish put together in a mold, which is very traditional in Peru.  It is made from yellow potatoes layered with chicken and other ingredients, and has its origins in the celebration of Peruvian Independence Day.  We next had a demonstration of a beef stir fry dish.  We sampled each of these dishes as they were completed, and then went upstairs where we were served a meal that consisted of those three dishes, plus a dessert made from a variety of winter squash, which was deep-fried and served with honey.  Our Peruvian beverage choices were either pisco sour or a non-alcoholic drink called chichi mirada, which is made from purple corn, sugar, cinnamon and cloves.  Both of these drinks were delicious.  

Immediately after lunch we headed for… Quierolo’s Taberna Antigua, a pisco distillery and tavern, for drinks and a snack.  We were all stuffed from the demonstration and lunch, so Omar, being a very smart guide, had us walk for a bit around a park near the history museum before we headed for the tavern.  The tavern was a wonderful old place, and while there we enjoyed local drinks and some good conversation.  Because we had a small, comfortable group, Omar got into discussing Peruvian politics.  It turns out that there is a lot of similarity between their politics and ours.  It was delightful to have such an intimate experience in another country, and to have a guide who was willing to share with us that way.

All in all, even though we ate too much, this was a delightful day.  It was a long excursion, but very well worth going on.

© Susan L. Stone 2015