FoodFriday: The teas of Peru

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 having a cuppa in Peru.

Teas of Peru

From top to left: Anis (Anise), anise, herba luisa (lemon verbena), te puro (black tea), manzanilla (chamomile)

While in Arequipa, Peru, I studied Spanish at a language school for two weeks. I stumbled upon EDEAQ through Google. It’s a great place to learn Spanish since they have 1-on-1 lessons that are much cheaper than the group lessons I had in Buenos Aires.

At EDEAQ, there is one tea break between the morning classes. After the tea break, you switch to another teacher.

During the tea break, I discovered that Peruvians drink a lot more types of tea than other places I’ve been to. (Even in China, I don’t think they bring out such choices of tea.)

These tea taste weird for my palate. I feel that anise should only belong in cooking but they drink it in Peru (and probably other places around the world!) Hierba luisa reminds me of lemongrass while manzanilla tastes like regular chamomile.

coca tea from peru

There was another very exciting tea that I had in Peru. That is coca tea (mate de coca). This tea is very useful for altitude sickness and motion sickness (not that it helped when I was on the bus to Nasca since I threw up as soon as the liquid hit my stomach.)

What makes this tea exciting is that it is made from coca leaves which is the same ingredient used in making cocaine. But this does not mean that every traveller sipping from coca tea bags are on drugs.

From Wikipedia entry of coca tea:

A cup of coca tea prepared from one gram of coca leaves (the typical contents of a tea bag) contains approximately 4.2 mg of organic coca alkaloid. (In comparison, a line of cocaine contains between 20 and 30 milligrams.)

What is the weirdest tea that you have tried?

Bottle of Inca Kola

FoodFriday: Inca Kola in Peru

Welcome to YQtravelling’s FoodFriday. The day of the week when I show off some of the lovely eats I had while travelling.

Today’s feature is not food but a mysterious drink from Peru. Let’s check it out.

I have a soft spot for soft drinks despite knowing how bad they are for my health. I try to avoid them as much as I can but I occasionally reward myself with a cold can of Coca-Cola.

Of course all diet rules are out while travelling so I tried Peru’s famous soft drink Inca Kola. I usually order this drink to accompany my meals in local restaurants.

Continue reading

FoodFriday: Soup a la minuta in Peru

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 having “sopa a la minuta” which translates to “soup in minutes” (I think).

I love soups a lot. (OK, probably not as much as Jodi who is a “soup expert“.) I prefer scalding hot soups to cold soups as I love how the hot liquid reminds me that I’m alive and slurping soup.

While in Peru, I had the chance to have soups. I featured seafood soups a few months ago.

Most of the soups I had were “sopa a la minuta” which I think means soup that is so easy to make, it only takes minutes.

Sopa a la minuta feels like Chinese ABC soup but with noodles. It just confuses me as the normal “soups” I have do not have noodle in them or else they would be called noodle soup.

This dish is usually found as part of a tourist set menu, sort of an appetizer before your main dish.

Check out the different sopa a la minuta I had:

Not quite sure where I had this sopa a la minuta.

Not quite sure where I had this sopa a la minuta.

Sopa a la minuta served at a rustic roast chicken shop.

Sopa a la minuta served at a rustic roast chicken shop.

Sopa a la minuta from a tourist restaurant. There is more pasta than soup. Sheesh.

Sopa a la minuta from a tourist restaurant. There is more pasta than soup. Sheesh.

A hearty sopa a la minuta in Nasca.

A hearty sopa a la minuta in Nasca.

Sopa a la minuta from a tourist restaurant in Cusco.

Sopa a la minuta from a tourist restaurant in Cusco.

Now all together:

sopa a la minuta in peru

Have you tried sopa a la minuta? Did you like it?

Find more food in Peru:

san camilo market

Glutton in Peru: I ate at San Camilo market and didn’t get food poisoning

Welcome to YQtravelling’s FoodFriday. The day of the week when I show off some of the lovely eats I had while travelling.

Today’s meal is at San Camilo market in Arequipa, Peru.

After arriving in Arequipa, I started searching online for good cheap food. From GQ Trippin, I found out about San Camilo market. It seemed like the most amazing place for affordable and yummy food.

I expressed my interest in the market to my Spanish teacher to ask his opinion as a local. He discouraged me from going because I might get food poisoning.

Next, I told fellow student/ posh Russian-American Tasha (not her real name) about the market and she turned her nose at it, adding that the “food there is rough” (aka not refined enough for her palate).

What is a poor glutton to do? Visit the market on my own of course.

I was slightly worried about food poisoning but I was very sure that my stomach of steel would mean no problem. Plus, I was armed with knowledge from the famous Jodi. Quoting from the post: Eating Cheap Good Food Abroad

Everyone tells you to eat at the stalls with the longest line of locals, but an important addition to that is to opt for the stalls with women and children in line, too. More variety in the customer base usually means the stall has been vetted enough that it’s safe for everyone. Yes, it’s still better to choose a long lineup of men over crickets and an empty stall, but given the choice, women and children in line is where you want to go.

The market was easy to find after I had the directions from my teacher. The cobbled streets of Arequipa were not kind to my shoes since I kept slipping on it.

In the market, I walked past several ceviche stalls several times because I was too shy to sit down at any of them. Finally, I saw the stall that looked like where GQ Trippin ate and luckily a family just left their side of the table. I sat down and smiled at the ladies working at the stall.

Using my still-limited Spanish, I asked for ceviche and something I had no idea what it was. Now, I think it might have been fish soup because it’s a soup and it has fish inside.

Chupe de pescado at San Camilo market

Fish in my fish soup

Next was the ceviche. Ever since eating ceviche in Buenos Aires, I had been dreaming of this raw fish dish. But since Arequipa wasn’t even near the sea, I hesitate eating it. Still, my gluttony overcame my good sense.

Ceviche from San Camilo market

They definitely used a different fish at the market compared to my delicious meal in Buenos Aires.

Close up of ceviche

I wasn’t satisfied with the tiny bits of fish which were dwarfed by the large sweet potato. Of course I should have known that carbs are more important than decadent protein.

After the stomach-bursting meal of soup and sweet potato, I still walked around the market. I stopped by one of the drinks stall and ordered a “surtido con leche” (which is a mix of unknown fruits).

The vendor poured one large glass for me. When I finished my glass, she poured another glass from the same batch. Turns out there are two servings with that price.

My very large glass of juice

By the time I sucked the last bit of juice, my stomach was stretched to its limit. I waddled back to the hostel, planning my next meal at the market. (Unfortunately, I never did get to go back and eat, although I had another juice.)

I did not get food poisoning like my teacher thought I would. If the locals are eating it, it’s probably safe enough to eat it too.

Related posts:

alpaca crepe

Glutton in Peru: Alpaca meat

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 feasting on fluffy alpacas. I promise they look less cute in meat form.

Have you seen alpacas? You’ve probably seen their photos since I featured many of them on my Facebook Page.  They are so cute and fuzzy wuzzy but kind of stinky. [While you’re there, please “Like” my Page. Mucho gracias.]

While in Peru, I had the chance to eat some alpacas.

Hey, I don’t see you complaining when you eat mutton so don’t complain about me eating something this adorable:

"I'm so cute. How could you eat me?!"

“I’m so cute. How could you eat me?!”

Continue reading

hot choc

#FoodFriday Making Mayan hot chocolate at Chocolate Museum

On my first day in Cusco, Peru, I didn’t have anything planned so I looked at the tourist map to see where I could go. Among the list of museums was the very curious chocolate museum. Since it was near where I was staying, I decided to visit and learn more about chocolate.

The museum is located on the second floor and you need to enter from a passage on the side of the building. The museum isn’t really a museum but a shop/café with a few panels with information on chocolate.

Maybe i t was my ninja sightseeing skills, no one from the museum brought me around to look at things. I later noticed that other tourists were swarmed by fawning employees. In the end I decided to take a seat and have a coffee, or a hot chocolate, to waste a way a bit of my time.

The most intriguing item on the menu was the Mayan/ European hot chocolate. Based on information in the museum, we know that Mayans drink their chocolate with chili powder while the Europeans add honey.

You are presented with the ingredients for both versions of the hot chocolate:

Clockwise from top: Chili powder, honey, mug with spoon, warm milk and chocolate paste.

Ingredients for Mayan hot chocolate

There’s no correct way to make Mayan hot chocolate so I dumped a lot of chili powder in. It didn’t taste as peppery hot as I expected so I was slightly disappointed. It did turn the regular hot chocolate into something festive with its red chili powder.

Spicy Mayan hot chocolate

Where can you find Mayan hot chocolate

Choco Museum in Cusco

Other yummies in South America:

pescado

#FoodFriday Peruvian seafood soup

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 slurping some soups made of fruits of the sea in Peru.

Some time ago, I talked about Latin America’s ceviche, a dish with raw fish cooked in lime or lemon juice. Today, we’re still eating food from under the sea but it’s cooked using fire.

I love soups and this extends to noodle dishes in soup. There is something very comforting about a food that doesn’t require you to chew too much.

I also like my soups tongue-burningly hot because that’s when I know that I am alive. I’m a bit of a masochist when it comes to soup.

Seafood soups in Peru

Seafood soups in Peru were unlike the Chinese soups that I’m used to. Instead of clear soup, we have a stock that is bright orange. The ingredients always seem to threaten to escape from the bowls which are huge.

Seafood soup of the house in Lima

Chupe de pescado--Fish soup!

Read more:

#FoodFriday I love ceviche!

Where to find cheap food in Aguas Calientes [#FoodFriday]

#FoodFriday Lactose-less milk in Peru

assassin cat

Caturday: Assassin cat in Miraflores, Lima

Cat in Miraflores, Lima

Cat inner monologue:

I knew that this assignment won’t be easy but I need the money for catnip. Why did I even touch that drug in the first place.

I’ve been following the target since this morning but strangely, I think somecat is following me too. I keep looking over my shoulders but I only see humans. I think I’m losing my touch.

The target has stopped to lean against this wall. He can’t hear me because I’m a silent assassin. Maybe if I pounce now, I can eliminate the target immediately. Here goes nothing.

Cat in Miraflores, Lima

More Caturday goodness on YQtravelling.

foodfriday ceviche

#FoodFriday I love 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?

around the world with overexposed model

Around the world with The Overexposed Model

There’s a side of me on the internet that I’ve not shared on YQ Travelling, until today.

Back in December 2012 when I was in Singapore, I created a Tumblr called The Overexposed Model (OEM) to record ads which I’ve come across that feature an ambiguously raced young lady.

The tumblr was actually a follow up of a blog with a similar goal. The blog was called The Overexposed Big Mouth Model but it disappeared when I was trying to submit my sightings.

Since OEM was in so many ads as the generic smiling women, I thought it was fun to chronicle my discoveries. I shared the blog link with a few friends but I mostly kept it as a semi-private collection.

Then one day, a freelancer from the Phillipines asked if he could interview me about the blog as part of a feature on the model. I can now honestly say that I was in Esquire Philippines (or something like that), however not as a bikini model.

In March, the Singapore media ran out of story ideas and featured The Overexposed Model in various print and web outlets. Some readers started submitting their own sightings of OEM to the tumblr. I put those up too.

Naively, I thought that the tumblr will hibernate while I go on my four-month journey. I still keep seeing OEM.

In the beginning, it was fun spotting OEM but now it feels kind of like a nightmare. Each time I see her, there’s less giddy surprise and more “NOT AGAIN!” Of course, I still obediently take out my camera and snap her photos.

Overexposed Model in Malaysia

OEM selling ulcer medication in Sabah, Malaysia.

OEM selling ulcer medication in Sabah, Malaysia.

My first overseas sighting of OEM was back home in Sabah in a clinic. She was in a ulcer medication ad.

Overexposed Model in Greece

Overexposed Model in an optician ad in Athens, Greece.

Overexposed Model in an optician ad in Athens, Greece.

In Greece, I found OEM hawking glasses in Athens.

Overexposed Model in Argentina

Overexposed Model in Buenos Aires airport

Overexposed Model in Buenos Aires airport

I thought I was safe from OEM but I found her at Buenos Aires airport, selling some sort of travel card.

Overexposed Model in Peru

Overexposed Model on Cruz del Sur website.

Overexposed Model on Cruz del Sur website.

I found her on a bus company’s website, ready to go for an unplanned weekend travel.

Overexposed Model in a clinic ad in Arequipa, Peru.

Overexposed Model in a clinic ad in Arequipa, Peru.

In Arequipa, in a lonely building, I found her in a life size printout. I thought I should stand next to her to prove that I spotted her.

Overexposed Model in the papers in Peru.

Overexposed Model in the papers in Peru.

Then I saw her again in the papers.

Overexposed Model in San Salvador

Overexposed Model in a pharmacy ad in San Salvador

Overexposed Model in a pharmacy ad in San Salvador

When I was out window shopping, I saw her outside a supermarket.

I don’t think I will ever get used to seeing OEM in an ad. It’s funny how she’s featured in so many different countries. Does her looks makes her the everyday person of the countries she’s been featured?

Have you seen the Overexposed Model? Share where you’ve seen her in the comments below.