Seafood Platter, Lima, Peru

A Lima Food Tour

My favourite way to get to know a new place is through its food and what better way to learn about Lima than by taking a Lima food tour with a local. A Limeño. David grew up in Peru’s vibrant capital and introduced us to the city during an immersive gastro-cultural tour with Da Taste of Peru. We experienced a fabulous fusion of Lima’s highlights, its quirks, its art, history, neighbourhoods and, of course, a full-on food fest in South America’s gastronomic capital.

La Lucha Sangucheria Criolla

A smiling David met us on a Sunday morning with a private car and driver at our hotel, Belmond Miraflores Park. Lima’s a sprawling city and we’d never have got around everything on foot. Our first stop was at Lima institution, La Lucha Sangucheria Criolla, near to Parqe Kennedy. Peru has a massive sandwich culture and La Lucha brings a gourmet touch to it. I’d skipped breakfast so got stuck into a classic ‘butifarra‘ of roast country pork and onion relish with a side of Chicha Morada.

La Lucha Sangucheria Criolla

Chica Morada

If you go to Peru you have got to try Chicha Morada.  This luscious drink made from ckolli purple corn, which grows, in the Andes is the deepest ruby colour. It’s boiled with water, pineapple, apples, cinnamon, cloves and sugar. It’s how I’d imagine blackberry juice would taste and not in the slightest bit corny. Delicious any time of day.

Chicha MoradaChicha Morada

Tip: If the queues at La Lucha are too long don’t give up hope. There’s a smaller sister shop just opposite where you can get your sarnie fix.

Feeling nicely full and ready to take on Lima we set off for the Barranco district, stopping en-route, at the Love Park.

Parque del Amor

This little park with colourful mosaics overlooks the Bay of Lima and is a park for lovers. Couples meet here at sunset overlooked by “El Beso” (The Kiss) a statue by Victor Delfín. The park proved significant as we spent the last couple of days of our trip staying in ‘Second Home B&B’ where Delfin lives and works. We actually got to meet the artist himself. Can’t say the statue is one of my favourites though…

Lima TourThe Kiss by Victor Delfin

Barranco, Lima

Barranco sits high on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It’s the bohemian district of Lima which is evident from the colourful street murals and brightly painted colonial houses.

Lima Street ARtBarranco Street Art

We cross the Bridge of Sighs (Puente de Los Suspiros). The bridge was built in 1876, to cross the gorge and it’s the neighbourhood’s main landmark. Tradition tells that the first time you cross it you should hold your breath and make a wish. If you get to the other side without taking another breath your wish will come true. Can’t tell you what I wished for.

Lima TourPuente de Los Suspiros

Nearby is la Ermita Chapel. Legend has it that an illuminated cross appeared during a storm guiding local fishermen safely back to shore. The church was built on the site in 1750 to give thanks.

Lima Tourla Ermita Chapel

Next we take a short walk to La Bodega Verde for a super food fix to keep our energy levels up. Sitting in the cafe’s walled courtyard we try a Lúcuma smoothie. Lúcuma is native to Peru and looks like a round avocado with a pale orange coloured flesh. It’s sweet and creamy with a hint of caramel. Delicious.

TIP: If you take any kind of tour do it early on in your stay so you can re-visit and spend more time at places you want to see more of.

Lima Food TourLúcuma smoothie at La Bodega Verde

Origen Tostadores de Café

Time for a coffee and we’re in luck because Peru is one of the world’s top coffee producers. Origen Tostadores de Cafe sells delicious Peruvian organic coffee made by baristas devoted to their craft. We enter the shop and breathe in the aroma of freshly roasted coffee.

Origen Tostadores de Cafe

Cajamarca, an Amazonian coffee, and one from Timbuyacu Farm are picked. As well as choosing the bean you can also chose the method used to brew your coffee.  We had one cup of siphoned (the purest way) and the other was a pour-over. The coffee is amazing. The cafe is buzzing the whole time we are there and there’s a big Star Wars vibe going on – the force is strong with this little cafe. Definitely one of Lima’s hidden gems.

Coffee in LimaOrigen Tostadores de Cafe

After our coffee fix we hop back in the car and head to Lima’s historical centre. En-route David tells us about his life growing up in Lima and how he’s worked in Cusco and would love to become a Sommelier one day. He’s passionate about food and drink and about sharing his love of Peruvian flavours with visitors to Lima.

Lima’s Historical Center

It’s time to stop eating for a bit and start sight-seeing. The architecture in Lima is eclectic with influences from the Spanish Conquistadors to northern European architects and Churrigueresque. The Basilica of Nuestra Señora de la Merced below is an example of the latter. Churrigueresque is an elaborate style of architecture where every little space is filled with detail. This is one  of the busiest facades that I’ve ever seen.

Basilica of Nuestra Señora de la Merced, LimaNuestra Señora de la Merced

Suddenly there’s a buzz in the air and a party bursts onto the streets bringing with it colour, music and dancing. We didn’t know where they came from, where they were going or why they were there but it was a fab sight to see. I’ll let the pictures do the talking…

Peruvian Dancers

Peruvian Dancers

Peruvian DancersDancing in the streets of Lima

Plaza de Armas

The carnival was gone as quickly as it arrived and we moved on to Lima’s main square. The Plaza da Armas. Lining the square on each side are impressive buildings with an air of colonial elegance. Lima Cathedral dominates one side of the square.

Lima CathedralLima Cathedral

Palacio de Gobierno is home to Peru’s president and we were just in time to catch the changing of the guard.

Palacio de Gobierno, LimaPalacio de Gobierno

The Archbishop’s Palace is really eye-catching with its Moorish influenced wooden balconies.

Archbishop's Palace, Lima

Lima ChurchBlue Church Parroquia De Los Sagrados

Cala Restaurant, Lima

After our sojourn into the historical centre of Lima it’s time to get back on the food trail and we head to Cala for a late lunch. Cala has a contemporary edge and is one of Lima’s few beachside restaurants. Lunch is part of the tour and David’s booked a fabulous table overlooking the ocean. We sit in the sunshine and watch the Pacific rollers break onto the shore as we sip a Cumbres Quinua beer and peruse the menu.

Understandably, fresh seafood figures highly on the menu  and after an amuse bouche of seafood cocktail  we decide on a seafood sharing platter for our starter. The Barranquito comes with rotisserie octopus, shrimps with mango chutney, nikkei scallops and tuna and salmon brochettes. The octopus is some of the best I’ve had; beautifully tender and full of flavour.

Seafood Platter, Cala, Lima

For the main course I go for Sea Bass and the boys both choose Lomo Saltado; stir-fried beef with tomato, onion, potato, quail egg, corn and rice. A bottle of Tacama, a crisp Peruvian white wine accompanies.

Sea Bass, Lima Food Tour

Lima Food Tour

Dessert was also offer but to be honest there just wasn’t any room for even the tiniest morsel more.

Lima Food Market

Although it was time to go back to the hotel David knew I had a hankering to see the food market.  He kindly arranged a detour so I could check it out – even though we’d already gone on much longer than we should have. It’s things like this that really make a difference – David puts so much care and effort into every tour and it shows.

Lima Food TourBlack corn and potatoes in the market – two Peruvian staples

Tamales, LimaTamales – stuffed banana leaves at the market

The tour offers a fascinating flavour of the city with forays into hidden gems and insights into Lima’s vibrant food scene. David is an engaging and instantly likeable host who really cares about his guests. He has a great sense of humour, speaks excellent English and is keen to share his passion for his beautiful country. Tours are tailored to individual tastes and interests – you just wouldn’t get this attention to detail with a large tour company. If you’re looking for a food inspired foray into the city of Lima the Da Taste of Peru is the tour for you.

Da Taste of PeruDavid from Da Taste of Peru

Many thanks to David our new Limeño friend who kindly hosted us on the fabulous Da Taste of Peru food tour. More reviews of Da Taste of Peru

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