sábado, 31 de marzo de 2018

7 exotic jungle foods you'll want to try (or not)

In previous posts we talked about the elegant and fancy side of Peruvian gastronomy and the best restaurants in Lima, however, in Peru exist a wide variety of ecosystems that open a huge range of possibilities to the different local cuisines of the country.

Undoubtedly the most extravagant and unknown of the Peruvian 'gastronomic boom' is jungle food. Here are some of the most unusual and unknown local dishes that - if you dare and don't have many objections to new experiences - you will surely want to try.

Churo (Giant snail)

Although in countries such as France, Spain or Portugal, the terrestrial snail is considered a delicacy, in the Amazonian department of San Martín there is a variety of giant river snail (known as churo) that it is very popular for stews based on chilies, onions and tomatoes.

This mollusk is also a great source of iron and protein and a solution to combat anemia and malnutrition in its area of origin. In Lima, some restaurants like Maido have prepared them with an emulsion of dale dale in a gourmet version.

Exotic Jungle Food, Amazonian Food Peru, Jungle Gastronomy

Suri Anticuchos

One of the most emblematic foods of the jungle is the palm worms, know as Suri. Despite the initial rejection that it may provoke at first sight, this type of dish is considered a delicacy in cities of the Amazon like Iquitos or Pucallpa.

Their preparation is very simple and varied, some simply wash and fry them in oil while others prefer to grill them on the grill and place them on a stick like a traditional antique. The most daring dare to eat them raw or even alive.

Giant churo, giant jungle snail, jungle gastronomy, curious jungle meals

Zarapa or Sarapatera Soup

In many parts of South America the turtle is considered a delicacy and Peru could not be left out. In the wetter areas of the Peruvian Amazon we find the motelo turtle, one of the components of the diet of the jungle dweller and a dish that should not be overlooked when visiting this place.

Its meat is prepared in different ways, from grills to stews and among these is the soup Zarapa, which is prepared inside the shell of the animal and is accompanied by grated banana.

Turtle Soup, giant jungle snail, jungle gastronomy, curious jungle meals

Giant ants

Just like you read it: ants. Those insects that gather around your food when you leave it alone for too long are the favorite snack of the people of Moyobamba (San Martin province).

Siquisapas are giant forest living ants that are coveted for their unusual but delicious aroma and flavor. According to kitchen experts, they can also be enjoyed as an appetizer, on pizza or even in exotic drinks.

Giant Ants, giant jungle snail, jungle gastronomy, curious jungle meals

Lizard Chicharrón

If you're going to Iquitos, capital of the province of Loreto and a favorite tourist destination in the Amazon region, then you must taste the lizard meat, a common dish among the locals in any corner of the city.

Its most popular presentation is in pork rinds but you can also order it grilled with other protein foods such as venison, chicken or even seafood.  

Lizard Chicharron, jungle gastronomy, curious jungle meals

Roast monkey

Strangely enough, monkey meat is a traditional dish in several parts of the Amazon region of Peru, Ecuador and Brazil. In the market of Belén, in the city of Iquitos, it is possible to discover a passage where we will find a great variety of exotic animals -some of them in extinction- quartered, such as turtles, parrots or monkeys.

The traditional preparation is to skin it and cook it on the grill, being able to bring you the surprise of discovering a leg or an arm on your plate. Not suitable for sensitive stomachs.

*The photos we have discovered on internet are not very nice, so we refrain from putting an image for this dish.

Bushmeat Mazamorra

As well as the popular Peruvian sweet, the purple mazamorra, there is also an exotic version in the Amazon based on monkey, but you can also find it prepared with tapir (or tapir, a kind of Amazonian wild boar), armadillo or even lazy bears depending on the time of year.

Basically, it is a soup thickened with striped green plantains and garnished with roasted yucca and chili peppers. It should be noted that the preparation of this stew is currently based on farmed animals given the ban on the sale of exotic creatures such as those mentioned above.

Bushmeat Mazamorra, jungle gastronomy, curious jungle meals

In the mentioned market of Belén we can ask for the well-known Pasaje Paquito, where there are stalls where they sell from medicinal plants, herbal tonics, to concoctions and aphrodisiac potions and for love.

We can also find other native products of the jungle such as the charapita pepper, the sacha coriander, the sacha potato, or the chonta or palm heart, which is usually used raw for salads, of a pleasant texture.

Without a doubt a whole world of contrasts and an explosion of flavours that we could not imagine. Dare to try it!

Esteban García, Peru Travels Blog
March 2018
info@perutravelsblog.com

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