Guinea pig and raw octopus

Raw octopus (Photo: Kristin i Peru)

When you are abroad, the most obvious, and perhaps most challenging, differences probably concern food. Janne shares some of her experiences so far:
Living with a host family, we've gotten to eat a lot of traditional foods. The different regions in Peru, la costa (the coast), la sierra (the highlands), and la selva (the jungle) all have very distinct cultures and foods, but here in Lima you get to have a taste of it all. Luci, our housekeeper, is from the highlands, and the other day she prepared a specialty from her region: cuy -- also known as guinea pig. It tasted pretty good, but the legs were still intact, with claws and everything, which definitely startled me a bit at first. We've been served lots of other delicious (and less scary) foods, including papa a la Huancaina (sliced boiled potatoes covered in a cheesy, slightly spicy sauce served on top of lettuce) and chicha morada (a sweet beverage made from purple corn).

Yesterday, our group went out to a Cevicheria, a seafood restaurant where they serve the traditional Peruvian dish ceviche: raw seafood in a lime and onion sauce. I would be lying if said I didn't cringe a little bit at the sight of raw octupus tentacles in front of me, but after a few deep breaths I was ready to try it out. To my great surprise, it actually tasted really good! Granted, I think I'll still need to take a few more deep breath the next time I take on a plate of raw slabs of octupus, shrimp, and squid, but at least I'll know what to expect... :)

Read more: Janne in Perú, Kristin i Peru (Norwegian)

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