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Veni, Vidi, Comi: South America’s Most Delectable Dishes

Veni, vidi, comi

We came, we saw, we ate.

Yup, that handily sums up our South American travel experience. After all, no foray into a new country is complete without noshing on the local cuisine. The food of a nation – good or bad – defines it just as much as it’s culture, landscape or people.

Fortunately, this is one area that we especially enjoy exploring. 🙂

Ceviche in Lima, Peru
If you’re seafood fanatics like we are, ceviche will be just your thing. Lemony, flavourful, and oh-so-fresh, ceviche might be the best thing we ate in all of South America.

Ceviche In Arequipa

Ceviche In Arequipa

Ceviche In Lima

Ceviche In Lima

Lima’s versions were the best (and probably the safest), but that didn’t stop us from trying it wherever we could.

It probably wasn’t very smart to eat a street cart version on Puno’s streets, late in the afternoon, but well…we couldn’t resist.

Grilled Pineapple Sandwiches at Cervantes in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Our last supper in Rio, was also it’s best. Founded in 1965, and best known for it’s grilled pineapple sandwiches, it’s a tragedy we didn’t discover Cervantes earlier.

Unfortunately, my tender filet mignon, grilled pineapple, and melted cheese sandwich filled my belly a wee bit too much. I had no room for seconds.

Fresh Fruit Juice at Big Bi in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
There are open concept juice bars on almost every corner of Rio’s Zona Sul, but they are not all created equal. We know, because we tried a good number of them, and none compared to Big Bi’s.

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We simply could not get enough of the freshly squeezed fruit juices there, and a stop or two during the day for a refreshment, quickly became mandatory.

Our addiction was so strong, that on our last day in Rio, we walked for blocks and blocks in the searing heat, passing many other juice bar pretenders, just to get one last fix.

Steaks at Montevideo’s Puerto Mercado
Everyone raves about Argentina’s steaks, but they paled in comparison to Uruguay’s bovine offerings.

We had great carnivorous meals all over the country, but it was tough to beat the dazzling picanha we had at Montevideo’s Puerto Mercado. Tender, flavourful, perfectly grilled and served with a side of fries (of course), this is what steak should taste like.

At the Puerto Mercado

At the Puerto Mercado

Perfect Picanha

Perfect Picanha

Touristy, yes. Expensive, yes. Worth it? Definitely.

And Two to Skip

Acarajé: Brazil
A popular northeastern Brazilian street food, acarajé is made from peeled black eyed peas formed into a ball and then deep fried in palm oil. The snack is considered to be an important part of Bahia’s heritage, so we were anxious to give this a try. It was a mistake.

A doughy, greasy ball served with a side of strange, sour boiled shrimp and flavourless tomato cubes, we could barely finish 1 portion each.

Acaraje in Salvador, Brazil

Acaraje in Salvador, Brazil

Cuy: Peru
Agri is definitely the more adventurous of the 2 of us, when it comes to trying strange foods, so when he found out about cuy, or roasted guinea pig, he had to give it a go.

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Imagine his surprise when a furry friend appeared crucified on his plate, with it’s head and teeth still intact.

He made a good effort, but eventually the greasy taste and horrible presentation, wore him down.

This is one guinea pig that should’ve remained a pet.



Roasted Cuy in Arequipa, Peru

Roasted Cuy in Arequipa, Peru

What’s the best thing you’ve eaten on your travels? The strangest? Is there something you crave to this day?

14 Comments Post a comment
  1. haha the clever title made me chuckle!! I’ve only had ceviche a couple of times, but you are right – it is delicious. I’m not surprised that foods from Argentina didn’t make it onto your list; I thought most of their food was horribly bland, apart from the desserts, of course!

    January 24, 2014
    • Heh heh…I wish I’d been clever enough to come up with it on my own, but alas, it was on the wall of an empanada shop we ate at in Cafayate. And yes, totally agree about the food in Argentina…it was definitely disappointing, except for the ice cream. Yum!

      January 27, 2014
  2. The roasted guinea pig looks scary! They are so much cuter alive.

    January 24, 2014
    • I’m sure the vegetarian in you must be horrified by that pic. I was horrifed, and I usually have no problem with that kind of stuff…and yes, way cuter alive. 🙁

      January 27, 2014
  3. Mmm ceviche. We had something that looked very like acaraje, except the ball was split open and stuffed with the shrimp, salad and some kind of spicy vegetables. It was fresh and very delicious – maybe you were just unlucky with your order?

    January 24, 2014
    • It’s totally possible…I mean 200 million Brazilians can’t be wrong, can they? It’s the most popular street food there! Unfortunately, we had it on our last night in Salvador, and couldn’t find it again, to give it another chance. 🙁 I wish we had…the one you ate sounds delicious!

      January 27, 2014
  4. Eeek! From the sound of it, the last two were the most interesting, too bad it’s the most disappointing. I’m afraid it’s not going to stop me on trying if I got the chance. 😀 He sticks out so much from everybody on that streets. ahihihi. 😀 …and love the plastic chairs.

    February 1, 2014
    • Haha, he really does. Hopefully you’ll have better luck with the acaraje and cuy than we did. Acaraje is the most popular street food in Bahia region of Brazil, so surely we must’ve gotten unlucky and had a bad one?

      February 2, 2014
  5. The acaraje seems delicious. Haha.

    The best thing that I have tried, well almost all are the best coz they are unique. Haha.

    The strangest, maybe the cow’s feet fat I had in Indonesia. Hahaha. It tasted weirdly nice.

    February 2, 2014
    • Really? Cow’s fat feet?? There’s no way I would ever be able to put that anywhere close to my mouth without feeling sick. And…you liked it?? Wowwww!!!

      February 2, 2014
      • Yeah, strangely I loved it. Haha.

        They cooked it in a coconut-milk gravy plus some tumeric powder, herbs and stuff and the feet’s fat is jelly-like.

        Actually, I had to strengthen my mind in order to put that in my mouth. ;D

        February 2, 2014
        • Well you are brave. There’s no where I could do it…but I think maybe my husband might be able to swing it. He’s much more courageous about food!

          February 3, 2014
          • Hahah.

            Sometimes, local food is what makes the travel more fun. When I was in Bangkok, I saw people selling fried grasshopper. But I passed. Hhaha

            February 4, 2014

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