Welcome to YQtravelling’s FoodFriday. The day of the week when I show off some of the lovely eats I had while travelling.
Today we’re going to going to South and Central America for some raw fish yummies.
It was my mom who introduced me to the wonders of sashimi. A long long time ago, I didn’t realize just how tasty raw fish with a hint of spicy wasabi is. One day, she encouraged me to try out “just one slice” of tuna sashimi. I was hooked!
Since then, I always welcome dishes with raw seafood (even if they taste like rubber) so imagine my joy when I learned about Latin America’s ceviche.
The dish, also spelled as “cebiche”, is raw fish or seafood marinated in citrus juice. The juice “cooks” the fish using some scientific magic. Or About.com can explain better:
In the culinary arts, ceviche is a Latin American recipe for raw fish and seafood marinated in citrus juice, mainly lime and lemon juice. The acid in the citrus juice coagulates the proteins in the fish, effectively cooking it.
Ceviche is served in the morning and until noon in Peru because it’s not good to keep the half-cooked fish until dinner time. However, for tourists, restaurants do serve ceviche for dinner.
Ceviche at Chan Chan, Buenos Aires
My first ceviche experience was in a Peruvian restaurant in Buenos Aires.
Chan Chan was near my hostel and was said to serve cheap food. I ordered the ceviche, despite not knowing what to expect. I imagined a large plate of sashimi slices but it looked like this:
There was a bush of onion on my fish and a piece of tapioca and a small corn. I thought it was going to be all meat. :(
Still, I fell in love with the tangy dish despite my ulcers which were stabbed by the lime juice with each bite.
From then on, I was open to tasting as many ceviches as I could. However, until now, the dish from Chan Chan remained the best tasting and the most filling ceviche that I’ve had.
Ceviche at San Camilo Market, Arequipa, Peru
I’m hesitant about eating ceviche in most places because the combination of raw fish and unsanitary conditions equals disaster.
So I was glad to learn that the couple from GQtrippin did not have problems with the ceviche at San Camilo Market in Arequipa. I made it a point to visit the market and taste the local ceviche.
The sauce for my ceviche was dyed a slight orange color from what I hope was the tapioca. The dish was nice but it couldn’t compete with my memory of my dish in Buenos Aires.
This other ceviche place in Arequipa
I adore ceviches but I find it frustrating that they never serve a big enough serving to strerch my stomach. Ceviches are served in petite portions with more garnish than the actual fish.
Sometimes the dish is served in fancy wine glasses like this one from a ceviche recommended by one of the teachers in Arequipa.
Four-taste ceviche from Mares, Arequipa
As a budget traveller, I do not frequent fancy restaurants much. But when I was studying in Arequipa, Peru, my retired schoolmate Tasha* (not her real name) always had plans to visit nice restaurants. I could have said no but I always went along.
At Mares in Arequipa, they have a dish with four different sauces for ceviche. I quite like the one that tasted of fruit but I do not remember the proper name.
El Salvadorian ceviche
I tried ceviche at a seafood restaurant in San Salvador. There was quite a lot of fish and even a fried banana biscuit to garnish.
I was surprised by the crackers they gave me. The waiter told me that I should eat the fish with the cracker.
The fish was quite OK and I liked the salty taste of the cracker combined with the lime juice. Yum yum.
When I head back to Southeast Asia, I’ll miss ceviche the most. Even if restaurants sell ceviche, I seriously think that the price will be over the roof so I’ll just eat all my share of ceviche here before I head home.