Having found myself living in Peru for the next 3 months I’ve decided that if ever there was a time to write a food blog it was now. It also seemed pertinent that my first weekend here must be one for the books, so off to the jungle we went, me, the bae, and his childhood bestie! Puerto Maldonado was our destination and with canceled flights and last minute boardings when we finally landed food was the only thing on our minds. We headed off to the suggested local restaurant Burgos’s. We were seated in their back terrace area where we could take in all the sights and sounds of the jungle around us. Lush greenery everywhere, the Rio Madre de Dios flowing and nothing but blue skies, it was a perfect place for our first supper.
First up, the drinks. Now if I know anything about the Peruvian jungle, (and believe me I know nothing) it’s that exotic fruits are plentiful and readily available. Our waiter offered us a little tasting of a variety of their fruit juices and I was pleasantly surprised by these flavors that were completely new to me. Camu Camu, Cocona, Maracuya (passionfruit, which I have had), and Copoazú (which also has different names and spellings, but I believe this is the most common in Peru). All with their own distinct flavors and textures. For us the semi-sweet and tart in flavor, bright yellow in color and texture similar to freshly squeezed orange juice, Cocona was our drink of choice.
Once that was settled I moved onto what caught my attention even more than the beautiful river view, or the wild baby sloth that found it’s way inside and spent some quality time on the rafters about our table. (Okay actually I really had a moment and I took a ton of pics, and almost pulled a Kristen Bell and started crying because they really are too cute!) No, the gem within this places was actually…the french fry buffet! Okay so they weren’t french fries per se, but it was a huge table with one side filled with salads, which I forgot existed once I saw the other side lined with multiple varieties of fried potatoes and fried plantains (both maduros and tostones were present, thank god. ) I had found my heaven. They also included a bar of dipping sauces! It was Pommes Frites, but jungle style #yassssss! There was mayo w/guac, mayo w/olives, passionfruit sauce, and of course an ají dipping sauce. Ají is the pepper of Peru. It comes in different varieties, but the Ají amarillo is the most popular, but we’ll talk about that later. Maybe in another post. Idk I’m still figuring this blog thing out 😛
Now, unto the entrees!
- Fish w/ Brazil Nut Sauce
We couldn’t forgo the chance to have some amazing fresh catch of the day! The trout was perfectly grilled. Extremely fresh tasting and delicate in flavor, but then you add the Brazil nut sauce and BAM! There is a party in your mouth. A little sweet, but also salty, it was perfection.
- Tacacho Con Cecina
This next dish is a classic from the Amazon. Cecina is a cured meat, what people in the U.S. would call jerky, and in this case it was pork. But this is the real jerky. Not that processed garbage we get from gas stations when you stop to fill-up on an 8 hour road trip (although if I’m being honest I’m totally a sucker for that stuff too, and it’s a must have if I’m in a car longer than 3hours) No this is the real deal. It’s beautifully balanced, salty and smokey. Every ounce of that dried pork was filled with flavor. Tacacho is a ball of mashed plantains that were once roasted and then cooked in water that is seasoned with pieces of pork to add flavor. I already love plantains so if you roast it and smash it with pork pieces I will always be game.
- Juane de Gallina
Lastly this dish is one of the most famous of the jungle dishes. The gallina translates to hen, but I believe we were eating good o’ reliable chicken this time. This is actually a food that is normally made during the festival of St. John Baptist known in Peru as San Juan, and thusly the name “Juane” was given. It consists of wrapping rice, chicken, olives, and a hardboiled egg in a bijao leaf and boiling the entire packaged. It makes for beautiful plating and once you break open the leaf all of the ingredients on the inside have a wonderful yellow-green pigment. It is definitely a show stopper. As far as flavor goes it is actually fairly tame. The olives add a nice note to the overall dish and when you find one it’s a great pop of flavor. What’s was amazing to me was the overall tenderness of everything. The chicken was moist and the rice is incredibly soft, yet not overcooked. I’m definitely a fan.
All in all this was a perfect first meal for my jungle adventures
If you would like to see more pics of our meal and our sloth friend (I named him Harry) click here . Also if you would like to check out Burgos’s while you’re in the jungle, or look at more pictures of their food there is the link to their site!
Thanks for reading!