My last morning in Puno. I woke up with a headache (for a change!) and went downstairs to have breakfast. Again, I got a cup of mate de coca, some fruit and a glass of papaya juice. This time I also added a glass of Vital Greens to compensate for the lack of vegetables in the previous days.
Then I went to the egg station and asked for two servings of scrambled eggs. The young man said guests were entitled to one serving only. I proceeded to explain that because I couldn’t eat bread I was left with very few options. He proceeded to overcook two servings of eggs in vegetable oil (ouch!) for me.
I didn’t eat all the fruit because pineapple and citrus didn’t feel good in my stomach. I did eat the eggs and tried some cheese, but what I really needed was something warm and comforting, so I left the hotel and headed to the Mercado Central (central market).
Cheeses at Mercado Central
“Food courts” in Peruvian markets are all the same: areas with sort of communal tables and several stalls offering basically the same options. There’s no food like market food: cheap, tasty, and abundant. The best part is that people from the highlands eat real food at breakfast. No corn flakes, no muffins, no-nonsense.
Mercado Central “food court”
I was offered lomo saltado, estofado and other dishes, but I wanted some soup. They had two options: lamb and sheep head. I chose the first, which was cooked with chuño (dried potato) and potato, and asked the lady to skip the rice.
Lamb soup (S/. 5, less than $2)
My huge bowl costed 5 soles. Not bad, however I know you can find cheaper food in other markets. It was very flavourful, although a bit too salty for my taste. I added a teaspoon of blended rocoto. The combined heat of the soup and the chilli warmed me up, cleared my respiratory system, and filled me up in preparation for my trip back to Lima.
An hour-long taxi drive later I was back in Juliaca’s airport, and two hours later on the plane. My big brekky kept me satisfied until after 4 pm, allowing me to skip the small sandwich and cake offered in the plane. Once home, my auntie fed me lunch/dinner: soy chicken with yellow potatoes and rice (she forgot I was avoiding rice and served the meal “Peruvian style”).
Soy chicken, yellow potato & rice
Then I went to the Buddhist centre. Juan, a Colombian teacher, was giving a talk that night. The talk was great, and it was awesome to catch up with my friends over there. Later that night a very special lady from Germany arrived, Hannah. She is responsible for filling statues around the world according to the Tibetan tradition.
With two international guests in the centre, we followed the usual procedure: go to Huaringas, one of Lima’s best bars that happens to be owned, managed, and ran by some of my Buddhist friends. Alfonso, the bar’s manager, shouted the first round of drinks and treated us to some of their wonderful food. Now, the bad news: I forgot to bring my camera. I’ll still describe what we had and encourage everybody who travels to Lima to visit Huaringas. It is outstanding.
I drank a strawberry & granadilla pisco sour (with sweetener instead of syrup), and a pisco with mineral water & lime. Here’s a brief description of the food platters:
- anticuchos with potato, and corn kernels in cumin and butter (delicious!)
- fried cassava & cassava chips and chicken chicharrón with tartar sauce and ginger dipping sauce (delicious!)
- crunchy prawns (didn’t try them because they had panko but I bet they were delicious!)
- prawn & cream cheese paper rolls (didn’t try them because they had panko but I bet they were delicious!)
- cassava balls with huancaína sauce (didn’t try them because they’re filled with cheese and crumbed, but I remember them being utterly delicious!)
- causa de cangrejo (mash potato with oil, lime & chilli, topped with crab meat and mayo), pulpo al olivo (octopus in olive mayo), Asian-style tiradito (delicious!)
- vitello tonnato, the Italian classic (delicious!, although a bit heavy on the sauce and light on the roast beef for my taste)
Casona Plaza Hotel
(5151) 36 5614
Mercado Central de Puno
Jirón Arbulú and Jirón Tacna
(511) 442 1280
Miraflores, Lima, Perú