Ceviche is the essence of Peruvian cuisine: fresh, flavorful, and simple. Though cuy (guinea pig) – cooked whole and only properly eaten with the crispy skin on top – may be the delicacy, ceviche is the stable. In Lima, the fish is freshly plucked from the Pacific daily, ready to be “cooked” in citrus juice, tossed with “aji” (chili peppers) and seasonings, and finally served as an afternoon affair. That’s right, don’t count on ceviche for dinner, or you’ll be totally out of luck (as were we). Caught freshly each morning, it is served up around noon-5pm; if you happen to find it later than that, be sure to pop a pink pepto prior to slurping up that fish!
As seen on the left here, “camote,” or “sweet potato,” is a traditional side dish for ceviche. The slightly spicy ceviche and the sweet potatoes are a great duo. The 5-ceviche sampler we got at La Mar (pictured at the top) is a great way to try different preparations. From left to right, the types of ceviche are:
(1) Pesca del día en leche de tigre clásica al ají limo picado (Fish of the day in tiger’s milk with spicy chili peppers)
(2) Pesca del día y mariscos en leche de tigre con ají limo licuado (Fish of the day and shellfish in tiger’s milk)
(3) Pesca del día y mariscos con chicharrón de calamar en leche de tigre al rocoto (Fish of the day and shellfish in a calamari and tiger’s milk sauce)
(4) Atún en sabrosa leche de tigre nikei (Tuna lightly flavored with tiger’s milk)
(5) Pesca del día con leche de tigre y demás sabores de un chifa peruano (Fish of the day with tiger’s milk and flavors of Peruvian Chinese cuisine)
Don’t forget to order a Pisco sour with your ceviche! Provecho!