Do you dream of tasting exotic Amazonian fruits, delicious Andean cheeses, the meatiest olives in the world, or perhaps enjoy a freshly-made cebiche and seafood platter by highly skilled cooks? If the answer is yes, what I’m about to share is your chance to enjoy all that and more. As you may know by now, Peru has one of the most amazing foods in the world, people now travel from all around the world to get a taste of our unique dishes, and fancy restaurants are sometimes booked for months in advance. But the markets… that’s a whole different -and in my opinion, more fascinating- story.
I met Connie Lee, born in Hong Kong and raised in the US, who is the founder and soul of Lima Te Llena , a culinary tour of Lima that takes you to my city’s best markets to get a real taste of Peruvian food. José, the other half of this team, is the founder and product manager. Connie invited me to join one of her tours, and I of course agreed. Event hough I’ve been visiting these markets for decades, I discovered new things and had a blast.
We walked under the sun for about 20 minutes, from one district to another (Miraflores to Surquillo), while Connie explained in perfect Spanish all I wished to know about the stores and different businesses we found on our way to the market. It was a hot summer day, and we made a quick first stop to have a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, where we chatted with the owner. He told us he makes the juice to order, which explained how tasty and refreshing it was.
At the market we had several samples at different stalls, bought fruits, vegetables, cheese… and even chutas and guaguas, two of my favorite breads from Cusco. The vendor gave me four large breads for S/10.00 (about US $3.00). If you are a tourist, you can take the goodies back to your hotel, and will have plenty of things to snack on during the rest of your stay.
Caseros -market vendors- are very friendly and love to have people from all over the world visit them. They don´t speak English but they try to communicate with tourists through laughter, jokes, and offering delicious bites of everything they sell. In fact, they are the stars of this tour.
Connie and José also offer chicha (popular) art and culture tours, where you can see the artists painting signs and posters using the local style and motifs, and you can also learn how to paint them yourself if you take the art class! I think I know what I’m doing next weekend…