Day 325: Cusco Peru
After a while of working at the hostel bar I got to know my coworkers quite well. Miguel, was from a neighboring town and usually worked the night shift.
We’d often chat when I was getting my first free glass of wine and then the subsequent non-free ones.
Miguel knows I love food and scoffed when he heard where I had been eating, feeling that it was poor representation of what Cusco had to offer.
After a few days of pestering him to write down restaurant recommendations I finally insisted he take me to his favourite restaurant for lunch.
Along with fellow Canadian Catherine we headed to La Chomba, an ajha wasi, which means they brew their own chicha, an alcoholic drink made from corn.
I would have never found it on my own, while there is a sign outside, you need to walk through a compound to get to the restaurant.
Miguel suggested we first order chicha as deciding what meat to eat could take a while. Ours were strawberry topped with cinnamon and clove and required two hands to hold but were absolutely delicious and deserved the effort.
In this type of eatery the portions are large, music is loud and people are boisterous. Often when he gets his hostel paycheck Miguel takes his family here to eat which made it all the more special for me.
First up we had cuy.
Although I’ve had it in Ecuador, here the animal was much smaller, deep fried and a bit saltier.
Although Ecuadorian cuy has a slight edge in preparation, it was delicious as I had remembered. Catherine who was eating it for the first time also agreed it was pretty tasty.
Next up was chicharron.
I couldn’t come to this picanteria without having pork. It’s been a favourite in almost every country I’ve been in.
Portions were plentiful and I had all the porky perfection I could ask for.
Finally a giant plate of beef heart.
I had tried anticucho in Trujillo but found it a bit tough. Here the heart was tender and deep in earthy flavours. I was actually surprised how much I liked it as I generally have no desire to eat animal organs – especially liver.
We came nowhere close to finishing the food and took the rest home.
All the time I wondered why hadn’t Anthony Bourdain featured this apparently popular restaurant or if no one told him this is where the people really ate.
But my mind was quickly distracted as Miguel told me we were walking on a street famous for chicharron.
Imagine that, a street famous for pig.
But I would have to wait because I was so full and my heart needed a meat break.La Chomba is located at 339 Tullumayo in the Central Area of town. If you are unsure just ask the cab drivers, they all know it.