Museum and church-seeing in Santa Ana [YQrtw Day 121 Aug 9]

santa ana

Location: Santa Ana, El Salvador

Just now, before quiet time at the hostel, I spent 3 hours reading in a hammock. This is really the life but it is coming to an end. In nine day’s time I will be back home. I’ll not dwell on that now and enjoy myself for the time being.

This morning, I made breakfast in the overly amazing hostel kitchen. I boiled some eggs and tried out the orange juicer. Unfortunately, the juicer was spoiled and I had to manually squeeze 5 oranges.

Hostal Casa Verde orange juicer

After my meal, it was time to fulfil my contract as a tourist. I memorized the directions to the town’s cathedral and went off on my way.

When I reached the historical square, I saw a white tent and a film crew. The roads were blocked with yellow tape and I worried that I was not able to enter the cathedral.

Santa Ana Cathedral
Santa Ana Cathedral

There were also people dressed in new-looking traditional clothing hanging around the square. Perhaps they will be on film too.

The man at the tourist information center gave me a map and reassured me that I would be able to enter the cathedral despite the film crew.

Santa Ana Cathedral
Santa Ana Cathedral

From outside, the church is quite impressive. However, the inside is rather dull compared to its exterior. The columns were painted a mix of gray and pink. There were dolls of saints by the wall but these dolls weren’t dressed as lavishly as others I’ve seen.

I skipped the theatre because I didn’t know if visitors are allowed to go in. I did chance upon the Regional Museum of Occident which had a curious mix of taxidermy animals, photos of orchids, types of money used in El Salvador and paintings.

Museo Regional de Occidente
Museo Regional de Occidente

After the museum, I was ready for lunch. Since I still have half a roast chicken in the fridge, I walked back to the hostel.

On the way back, I was harassed again. This time by three middle aged men in a car. I heard, “Chinese! Chinese!” “How tasty.” (Seriously dude!)

I gave them the fist when I walked past. They even drove the car to taunt me more. I yelled at them in Chinese. The car stopped at the lights and I delayed my walk because I might throw stones into their car if they make racist comments again.

It’s very strange that they are able to tell that I’m Chinese when I’m wearing my huge sunglasses. How can they tell that I am Asian? From my skintone? Is it really that different from the locals?

Anyway, I enjoyed my lunch of cold leftover chicken and did a few future blog posts. I also took a swim in the little pool before heading out again for some afternoon tea at a famous bakery.

Lazing in the hammock

Back from the bakery, I went to the hammock in front of my room and started reading. I got up from time to time for some apples and a drink but I spent a total of 3 hours in that swinging cloth.

I love hammocks!

Here are a few photos of Santa Ana

Crumbling building in Santa Ana
Crumbling building in Santa Ana
Colonial building in Santa Ana
Colonial building in Santa Ana
Piñatas
Piñatas

#FoodFriday I love ceviche!

foodfriday ceviche

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:

Cebiche from Chan Chan, Buenos Aires
Cebiche from Chan Chan, Buenos Aires

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.

Ceviche from San Camilo market
Cebiche from Chan Chan, Buenos Aires

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

Cebiche

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

Cebiche from Mares
Cebiche from Mares

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

El Salvadorian ceviche
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.

Have you eaten ceviche? Do you like it?