Diced fish, lemon, onion, salt and chili- to taste. Everything else is just a nice complement.
These are Ceviche's
, a typical Peruvian dish, basic ingredients, that can vary according to the region.
It is, without doubts, a dish highly remarked by its freshness throughout the coast, from Tumbes up to Tacna, and can be tasted at any time, during any season. However, many people prefer to have it during summer, with a cold glass of beer or a glass of Inca Kola, a typical soda in Peru.
"There's balance and refinement in our culture, obvious in every bite" – said Gastón Acurio, a very well known Peruvian chef, some years ago. .
¿CEBICHE, SEVICHE OR CEVICHE?
Its name is an open debate. Peruvian Language School, considers the word "ceviche" comes from "cebo", a word used to talk about meaningless food. For The Royal Academy of Spanish Language, the sound "Cebiche
" comes from Arabic; because etymologically, comes from a method to preserve bitterness, like escabeche.
Meanwhile in 2004, Peruvian government ruled that seviche should be considered "Patrimonio Cultura de la Nación" (Nation's Cultural Patrimony), and pointed "S" and "V" as accurate spelling, and not "C" and "B", considering our Moorish culinary heritage. Despite continuous investigations, the three ways are accepted because a change in order is not a change of value.
CEVICHE…MORE PERUVIAN THAN POTATO?
"All fish taken from rivers, or the ocean, is raw", appointed Pedro Gutiérrez de Santa Clara, Mexican chronicler, in "Guerras Civiles del Perú" (Peruvian Civil Wars), in years of Spanish invasion, being maybe the first mention regarding Ceviche
Its origin is lost in time. Mochica culture, that was extended along the northern coast, prepared raw fish fermented in natural juice that came from a local fruit called tumbo. After that, during Inca empire, fish was fermented in "chicha de jora".
Later on, Spanish culture added two more ingredients to this preparation: lemon and onion. Products that once acclimatized in "tierra de indias", obtained a characterized and special flavor. It is perhaps for all this culture that ceviche is so appreciated by Peruvians.
"Telling a Peruvian that Ceviche
is not Peruvian, is like practicing adventure sports: no one foresees danger"-suggested journalist Daniel Titinger on his book called " God is Peruvian"; it is a worth mentioning fact because this dish is prepared in other countries, with different styles.
CEVICHE HERE AND CEVICHE THERE
Ceviche, as all dishes in Peruvian gastronomy, shows a wide cooking variety. For instance, there are differences according to the fish or shellfish used.
Proof is Tumbes, where Ceviche is usually prepared with black shells, chifles ( sliced banana), and Andean corn. Furthermore, in Arequipa, ceviche carries pieces of celery and shrimps.
Sweet potatoes, corn or lettuce are other side dishes that go along Ceviche
. Likewise, we must also mention "zarandeja" (legume), or even "yucca". As you can see, it is not only a dish from the coast. Gastronomic search is open.
Where to go
There are many good restaurants to try Ceviche
in Peru, we should recall that last year in April "Chez Wong", restaurant that belongs to Peruvian cook Javier Wong, was awarded and considered Ceviche, the best dish worldwide in 2014 in the World's Tastiest Fast Feasts Festival.
Journalist Nicholas Gill, from "The Wall Street Journal", ranked in 2012 the best "cevicherías" (Ceviche
restaurants), in Lima. We can find:
- "El Mercado"
- "Los II Piratas"
- "La Pescadería"
- "Chez Wong"
- "Pescados Capitales"
According to the biggest tourist information web in the world, Trip Adiosor, "Qaya" is in place N°5 among restaurants in Arequipa
in which we can try Ceviche. Followed by place N°6 "Pezcadores".
On the other hand, in Cusco
, "Uchu Peruvian Steakhouse", is a recommended N° 5 place in the "Empire City".
Remember that each of the aforementioned places gives this dish a "personal touch" and can't be missed if coming to our country.
And if you have already tried it, tell us: What did you think of it?