Coca isn't the only thing you can buy in Lima's food markets! (Did you see Logan's post about making a coca chaw? Isn't is great?)
We made a couple of market trips, to both the huge market near Chinatown (Mercado Central) and the smaller, but equally delightful, Mercado Surquillo closer to Miraflores.
There's a ton to see at these places. Of course, there are lots of wonderful fruits, both from the Andes and the tropics.
I finally understand what the big deal is about dragonfruit! I've always thought it was kind of watery and dense, but we bought a beautiful yellow one which was sweet and subtle and refreshing. Now I have to seek more out.
This is lucuma (you can see it in the above picture as well), one of Lima's favorite fruits. It's often drunk as a milkshake. The stringy meat is pulpy and sort of sweet-potatoey. Not my favorite, but there aren't many tastes like it.
This is known as tittyfruit. Seriously. Or Apple of Sodom. We never actually saw it on menus.
Maiz morada, or purple corn - used to make that awesome sweet-spicy chicha morada drink you might have seen in the ceviche post from last week.
It felt like there was a fair amount of European influence in the foods for sale at these markets - though we did see lots of stands selling Chinese vegetables, spices, and noodles as well (there's a huge Chinese population in Peru).
Lots of garlic and olives.
And BEAUTIFUL spiny artichokes. Give me a giant steamer and some lemon butter, please.
Fresh ingredients everywhere!
And, of course, there are the meats, too. The seafood areas were particularly interesting, with lots of strange sea urchins and scallops with roe still attached. Small ceviche stands were often set up right in the middle of several booths selling fresh seafood.
There were many, many different kinds of poultry. Street vendors just outside the markets sell freshly boiled quail eggs with salt, and here we could see where they buy their wares.
Another one of Lima (and Peru's) favorite street snacks is the anticucho. These are skewered meats, grilled and served with a potato and spicy sauce, and anticucho vendors can be found on many street corners. Fancy anticuchos are in many of Lima's nicer restaurants, too.
The most common anticucho is made from sliced beef heart, which is tender and very beefy.
There you have it - a small introduction to the markets of Lima! Of course there are sterile, modern supermarkets, too, but where's the fun in that? The upscale malls can take their Victoria's Secret, and we'll keep our own, more awesome one.
By the way, in real life we're actually in Chile (you can see our current location over in the sidebar); Peru was ridiculously amazing and we wish we could have stayed there for months, but it was time to be moving on. Unfortunately, the direction we wanted to go, through Puno to the Bolivian border, has been completely blocked by mining protests! We headed back south, crossed the Chilean border today, and will be crossing into Bolivia tomorrow. Wish us luck with our Bolivian visas, please... indications are we're going to need it!