Jenkins and my first stop on our Peru trip was at the Corto Maldes eco lodge in the Peruvian Amazon. I really enjoyed this leg of our trip and I think it was a great first stop to get us immersed in Peru. One good thing from a food perspective was that all the food we ate in the Amazon was prepared by the lodge’s chef who specialized in French and Peruvian food. I would say that the food tended more towards the Peru spectrum rather than French and gave us a good preview of what Peruvian food was all about.
Here is the main lodge where we ate most of our meals.
All of our breakfasts came with freshly squeezed juice from various Amazonian fruits. Jenkins liked to call our drinks Jungle Juice because we never had any clue as to what fruit was used to make the juice. One such juice is the one below made with the fruit you see in the foreground. I don’t remember what the fruit was called but it was related to the tomato so it had a hint of tomato flavour crossed with an orange.
Breakfast was usually a pretty simple affair. Along with some scrambled eggs, we were always served a plate of fresh fruit. The fruit would vary from day to day but the one below had pineapple, watermelon, banana, and a type of passion fruit. I really liked this variety of passion fruit because it was not overly tangy and I enjoyed crunching down on the edible seeds.
Snacks during our hikes usually consisted of some crackers, mandarin oranges, and bananas. I particularly liked eating the bananas in Peru because even though they were yellow and brown, they always remained a bit firm. I hate eating mushy bananas so I really enjoyed eating these firmer Peruvian bananas.
Jenkins and I really enjoyed eating a Peruvian-style “tamale” called the Juanes. It came wrapped in banana leaves, which helped the Juanes to retain quite a bit of its heat.
Inside, the Juanes has rice, chicken, vegetables, olives, and a boiled egg. The salty olives permeate the rice and it is flavoured with some spices and the vegetables helped to bind everything together. As you would expect, it is quite filling and also very tasty.
Another interesting thing we ate for lunch was chau fan. Chinese food is immensely popular in Peru, so much so that Peru has its own type of Chinese-Peruvian fusion food called Chifa. All throughout Peru, we saw several Chifa restaurants that served its own unique spin on what we would consider traditional Cantonese dishes. Jenkins and I thought it was especially interesting that most of the Chifa dishes were pretty much direct translations of its Cantonese name, such as chau fan.
Chau fan is a bit moister than regular fried rice and is bound together by a soy sauce-based sauce. The version we tried in the Amazon was made with chicken and also had peppers and some other type of leafy green vegetable. Our guide told me to try the rice with some fresh lime juice and mayo and it turned out to be quite tasty. I would argue that it is quite different from regular fried rice so you can’t even do a direct comparison.
In addition to the limes and mayo, I also added some fresh chillies that our guide had picked for us out in the jungle. Now that I think about it, that may have been a bit sketchy but these surprisingly spicy chillies really added a nice heat to the rice.
Next up, I’ll share with you some of the dinners we had in the Amazon!