Upon arriving in Lima, we spent the first couple of days in Miraflores – a charming district known for its shops, restaurants, gardens and beaches. It is a beautiful tourist area where we felt no need to worry about the thieves in Lima. Still, a sense of adventure lingered within our new-to-Peru travel spirits and we soon found ourselves in a cab headed back into central Lima. The markets around Miraflores were quaint, but we wanted to experience the Mercado Central of Lima.
It's a mass of people winding through the seemingly unsystematic blocks knotted with shops and restaurants piled upon one another – an excellent place to grab a bite and sift through random knickknacks. Not caring to purchase anything in particular, we went in search for a genuine Peruvian meal. Knowing that ceviche is a must in Peru, we were pleased to discover a cevicheria.
Of course, nothing is ever as it seems and it turns out that we walked right into a chinese restaurant – which explained the chinese characters decorating the walls. Turns out the Centro Mercado borders chinatown and the cevicheria was just a stand outside the restaurant. But at least we could still dine from it from within the restaurant. So we readily consumed the savory ceviche (along with some tolerable chinese sweet and sour chicken). Nothing like flying all the way to Peru to have chinese food.
We wish we could say the food mishaps stopped there, but they were just beginning. While dining at a restaurant back in Miraflores, we ordered anticuchos (skewered beef) which we were surprised to find was served atop calamari. Random, but we love calamari so great! Oh if only it had actually been calamari. After a few questionable bites we discovered that the choncholi it was served with meant cow intestines. To be honest, it wasn't terrible. Just more of a mind game to overcome -which we did not.
Another evening dinner later we planned for a picnic on the beach and picked up a few bottles of Peruvian wine to introduce to our palates. Arriving in Barranco, an area recommended to us for its sandy beaches, we couldn't find any sand to host our picnic and had to settle for a rocky spot under the spotlight of a nearby restaurant. Oh well, wine is wine no matter where you drink it. We don't recall the exact type of Peruvian wine we had, only that the oppressively sweet flavor that clawed our throats on the way down was not the ideal companion to our meal. Another dining bust. But the view of the setting sun from the rough coastline of Barranco and FiveBadTourists for company kept the evening far from spoiled (unlike our wine which probably was).
Browse photos from Miraflores here.