In Peru, when families and friends sit down to enjoy dinner, which often takes place later than in the United States, the atmosphere tends to be very casual and friendly. When dining in a Peruvian restaurant, you may suddenly hear a loud “qué rico” coming from a nearby table, and this means “how delicious!” If you hear this, chances are that someone has been thoroughly impressed by Peruvian food, and there are three particular dishes known to elicit this reaction:
Pescado a lo Macho
In a few Latin American countries, a dish prepared “a lo macho” means that it is served in a generous portion big enough to satisfy a manly appetite. This is a fish filet that is served on a bed of seafood stew and coconut rice. The seasoning features paprika and coconut.
Don’t call them fried prawns: this appetizer of crispy river or ocean shrimp is fancy enough to be considered part of the main course. The secret flavor is derived from a mix of barbecue sauce and a Peruvian carbonated drink known as Inca Kola, which gives the shrimp a slightly tangy flavor. Langostinos are often served with a sweet potato puree as a side dish.
Pulpo a la Parrilla
This is more than just grilled octopus; this is a preferred dish among Peruvian people who are passionate about seafood and who like to pair meals with their favorite wines. The octopus is cut into bite-sized pieces and lightly marinated before it is seared and grilled to perfection. You have to eat this with a fresh dipping sauce that is similar to chimichurri but spicier. The traditional side dish is a puree made from various types of potatoes.
It so happens that pulpo a la parrilla, pescado a lo macho and langostinos crocantes are three dishes lovingly prepared under the supervision of chef Carlos at La Costanera Restaurant. If you live in or near Half Moon Bay, you really need to give this Peruvian restaurant a try.