Brandon and I have been friends for ages... ages, I tell you. I'm so glad to have him posting today in this guest series on travel. Enjoy his story from the beautiful country of Peru. And for my lovely coffee addicts out there (guilty!), you must check out Brandon's business, Caneland Coffee.
Image Source: Daremoshiranai
When I went to Peru, I didn't expect to be eating french fries.
I mean, that shouldn't be entirely unexpected, right? At this point, french fries are a pretty universal food. Even so, they still caught me off guard.
I love traveling and learning about new cultures, and by cultures, I mean food. It could be accurate to say that my preference for a country or region directly correlates with how much I like the typical cuisine of the area.
Latin America? I'm a huge fan of the beans/rice combo. It's pretty much the Big Boi/Andre 3000 of the side item world. Throw in some chicharoon or chorizo, and I'm golden.
England? I'm sorry, but I'm just not that in love with shepherd's pie. Please don't cry in your tea.
About five years ago, I landed in Peru, home of Machu Picchu, the Nazca lines, and Lake Titicaca. The town where we were headed, Trujillo, is also the northernmost place you will find penguins in the wild.
Don't get me wrong. All of that is cool and all, but I was excited for my first taste of South American food, and my team kept hyping this restaurant along our bus route where we would eat our first meal.
Early in the morning, we boarded our bus and took off all the Pacific coast with barren desert on one side and spectacular ocean views on the other. We stopped to eat about halfway through the journey.
I was ready for my first Peruvian meal. The group was adamant we try the Lomo Saltado: steak fresh off the grill, roasted onions, tomatoes and spices, sliced up and served over rice... and french fries. Wait, what?
That led to surprise number two: Peru loves them some Chinese food. I mean loves it. Chifas (Peruvian Chinese restaurants) are all over the place. Conservatively, I will say there are one billion in Trujillo alone.
Checking the interwebs, they told me that Chinese immigrants came to Peru in the late 1800's. While they tried to maintain traditional recipes, traditional Chinese spices were hard to come by. Their cooking became infused with the local Peruvian meals.
Okay, so why french fries? Even though Lomo Saltado was originally served with potatoes, my guess is someone realized french fries were delicious and made the switch. Speaking of, I need to go find a good recipe. I'm hungry.
What is the most surprising food you've eaten in your travels?
Brandon Spencer is a husband and dad from Lexington, Kentucky. When he's not chasing his kids around, he is chasing life, looking to be more awesome. He is also the Owner and Chief Troublemaker at Caneland Coffee where he roasts magical coffee to fuel those who dare to do big things.
You can learn more and buy coffee at www.canelandcoffee.com. Find Brandon across the interwebs. Except for MySpace. Definitely not there.
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