The Buchele Adventure

This is record of the Buchele Adventure, as reported from West Africa.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Adventures in Eating, part 1

So tonight, after a long day of teaching on Cross Cultural Ministry, we went out (really snuck out) for some Peruvian street food.  One of the missionaries here took us to an anticucheras called Dina, which turns out to be a tent off one of the main squares of Huancayo.  Dina has been in a tent on this location for 62 years, and judging by the business we saw in our short time there, I can see why.  On the menu tonight is Picarones and Anticucho, or mini donuts and fried cow’s heart, along with a sampling of some local drinks.

Dina – street food has been served on this location for 62 years 

Walking the 15 minutes to Dina, Suzanne was not absolutely sure she was going to try the Anticucho or fried cow’s heart, but the smell of it cooking was amazing, and with an appetizer of picarones or mini donuts, even the most skeptical (and queasy stomach) was converted, but not before a sampling of three local drinks.

Local Drinks

First we were served a large pitcher of Chicha Morado, a non-fermented dark purple drink made from Peru’s Black Corn.  It tastes similar to Bissap,  a drink we had in Ghana that is from Senegal and made with the hibiscus flower, though the color of Chicha Morado is much darker.

Chicha Morado
Next was a Chicha de jora, which is a fermented (but not alcoholic) also made from a yellow variety of corn.  It tastes like a fermented apple cider with a caramel after taste. 
Chicha de jora

Picarones or those wonderful fried donuts 

Next were the picarones, or mini fried donuts are made from squash and sweet potatoes and served with a thick sweet syrup that I’m told is a light molasses, but it tastes like honey to me.  Each batch of picarones (either petite or grande) is fried fresh while you watch, and consumed while piping hot. 

Picarones – mini fried donuts Delicious!  

And now the Anticucho, or fried cow’s heart which until we were told otherwise, looked like simple beef kebabs served over some fried potatoes.  We’ve seen, or rather smelled anticucho being cooked on many of the street corners around Huancayo, but we had been warned not to try any street food as it would make us sick.  Challenge Accepted! 

Now I’ve had kebabs in a number of cities around the world, and, except for the rather chewy Ghanaian beef kebabs, found them to be tasty, quick and cheep eats.  Tonight’s offering at Dina was no different.  The story goes that the Spanish Conquistadors encountered this dish, but made from llama meat Later it was adapted by African slaves who, during colonial times, were given the cast offs of the cow that the Spanish didn’t want, organs meats such as heart, stomach, (need I go on?). 

Frying the Anticucho
Except for my mother’s fried liver, I’ve never been much for organ meats, but I really like what those slaves did with the cow’s heart, how they marinated it in vinegar, garlic, cumin, and some kind of pepper I can’t identify.  Then its sliced a quarter inch thin, skewered on bamboo, the grilled, and served over fried grilled potatoes.  

Until the first bite, the thought of eating anticucho is a bit revolting, but taste wins, and it takes little convincing for Suzanne, who ends up having ore than a bite, and I find myself eating several, and still fighting over the last piece (we end up splitting it, after all we are Christians).


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