Lunch

Guinea pig tastes kind of fishy.

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In the sense that it’s flavor reminded me of fish, not that it had gone bad.

Food is supposed to be one of the highlights of Peru. A Santiago local said the best food in Chile was the Peruvian food. I had ceviche in the Chilean coastal town of Constitucion, but I haven’t tried it yet in Peru. It’s supposed to be made with fresh, raw fish, and I don’t see any oceans around. One friend got food poisoning her first day in Cusco, a problem I’ve managed to avoid thus far, and hope to continue doing so.

Known locally as cuy, guinea pig the most expensive menu item at the picanterias I’ve been to. They serve the whole animal, oven fried in spices. Even the teeth were still there.

I didn’t like it. Probably because I expected it to taste more like beef than fish. But I ate all of it–or as much meat as I could get off those tiny bones. I preferred the rocoto relleno–a local pepper stuffed with meat and cheese–and potatoes served as sides.

Instead of bread before the meal, the waiter brought me a big plate of corn. Corn is a staple ingredient in Peru. The flavor is hard to describe. It’s not sweet, like Illinois corn. Different, but still good. Peruanos use maiz morado–purple corn–to make a sweet drink called chicha, which is typically served with lunch.

I’ve been getting used to corn in my diet after nearly eliminating it when I was in the U.S. Corn gets a bad rap from the health and fitness community. Diet experts point out that corn is not a vegetable, but a grain high in carbohydrates, and thus an enemy of low-carb meal plans.

Since arriving in South America, I have most decidedly not been on a low-carb plan. I’m not even sure that it’s possible. Every meal comes with bread, potatoes, pasta, rice, or corn. Usually more than one of the above. Sometimes fried.

My dad told me about a Peruvian restaurant he ate at, where they served spiced chicken with fried yucca. I told him that, in Peru, they serve that same chicken with french fries.

There are delicious cakes and ice cream for dessert. And few vegetables, if any, are included.

Is the all-carb diet a thing?

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