Thursday, April 2, 2009

Phil´s Gastronomic Adventure #5: Arica, Chile

Location: Arica, Peru

The Dish: Ceviche in a Cup

Ingredients: Tall glass, raw egg, four types of ceviche (raw fish or shellfish marinated in lemon juice), cilantro, onions, scallions, salt, pepper, lemon juice

It comes as no surprise that a country with over 6,400 km of coastline has great seafood (we´ve all heard of the Chilean Seabass, right?). However, while in Iquique for 3 days we had little success finding a cheap, legitimate seafood restaurant. After heading north to the coastal town of Arica, we were pointed towards a Mercado down Avenida Colon. Upon entering, we still felt lost: the place resembled an indoor food court, only three times as chaotic, wet and smelly. Using broken Spanish, I asked a juice vendor which stall made the best seafood. He pointed over his shoulder and said aca ("over there"). We followed his directions to a crowded, sushi bar-esque stall with seven seats and large buffet vats of ceviche. Jackpot.
Auggie and I noticed that everyone kept ordering something in a cup, so we asked for dos copas. What we got was a concoction of raw egg, lemon juice, and raw fish. But it was unbelievably refreshing. I felt like I had just opened my mouth in the ocean. Who cares if it was potentially unsafe, the ceviche was a welcoming change from the heavy meat dishes we´d grown accustomed to in Brazil and Argentina. Following suit, we slurped the remaining juices of the cup after the remaining morsels of whitefish and clams were gone.

Cost: 1,500 Chilean Pesos (US$2.80)

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