Fausto and his black ceviche.
Finding myself in an urgent need of a hobby and a malleable outlet for creative expression, I decided to turn to my friend the internet for answers. So I came up with this, a brashly decorated blog soon to be filled with my curiosity, stamina, and limited knowledge on food and food culture.
So I rightly decided that since this is food, let’s start with the appetizers. Seeing as the city in which I currently reside in, Lima, Perú, is consider the gastronomical capital of South America, I decided why not stick with their tradition and start of this literary meal with a nice, acidic, somewhat gamey, Ceviche.
Raw fish soaked in lime juice? No, my dear reader, raw fish bathed in the glory and aspirations of a country whose people stand behind this dish with pride, adorning their reality with morsels of flounder, rightly spiced to rejuvenate those tattered bits of dignity you held on to from the night before. Yes, dear reader, Ceviche. Said to be born in the north of Perú by the Mochica culture. It is known that the Mochica fishermen would bring tumbos* out to the sea with them and mix it with the fresh fish they caught, wait for the juice to “cook” the fish, and then nourish themselves. The Spanish conquistadors added other goodies, such as the onion, ají, and even the traditional lime. While the cancha serrana, sweet potato and corn(or choclo) slice were implemented by the people who migrated from the mountainous areas of Perú. Even the Chinese had their say in it when they taught Peruvians how to eat seaweed and algae.
But enough about history and more about Fausto’s, the angel disguised as a ceviche cart dishing out nice portions and well handled ceviche for over 40 years. Nestled in the looming streets of Surquillo, the district adjacent to Miraflores. This cart has served generations of people. When I was last there I had the great opportunity to meet with a woman who was there with her child. She began to explain how her mother would take her to this cart as a youngster and now she is delighted to share the same experience with her precious one. The owners and workers of this cart are a couple from the Ancash region of Perú. The husband, Juan Augusto Rodriguez, who learned how to make ceviche when he worked in a restaurant here in Lima, typically takes the money orders while his wife, Victoria Tuya, serves the ceviche. They serve a small variety of ceviches, the simple, purely fish standard, consisting of whatever the catch of the day might be (due to the rising cost of flounder they informed me that they haven’t used this fish for about 10 years) the diverse “mixta” with bits of octopus topped with fried kalamari just to add a different temperate aspect to the dish, and the exotic black clam ceviche that they put on their menu in the 1970’s when this ceviche started becoming more popular nationally. What makes them even more popular with this dish is they squeeze the limes into the black clams in front of you, dispelling any and all skepticism of acidic falsification (done normally with citric acid).
I ALWAYS buy the ceviche mixto, just because I like the heat of the kalamari contrasting with the cool raw texture of the fish but hey, as my grandma says, whatever turns you on. The black clam ceviche here is varied when it comes to flavor, since they make it all in that moment. They cut the clams and add the seasoning all before your eyes. Although I would be a little more feather handed on the garlic, that’s for you to decide.
Should you want to enjoy this meal the cart is located on the 9th block (cuadra or cdra) of Jiron Dante. Just a half a block from where Jr. Dante and Angamos cross. They’re open everyday from 9-5 and don’t forget to drink the juice at the end of the bowl, it’s life-giving.
*Tumbos – The only acidic fruit native to Perú, found in the costal and mountain regions of the country.