Wednesday, February 28, 2007

El Mijano in Iquitos

On my last trip to Peru, I went to the Amazonian jungle city of Iquitos for the first time. It was the most relaxing place I had ever been to in Peru. In fact, I think people in Iquitos have elevated relaxation to a high art.

People in Iquitos also enjoy good food, in particular their own Amazonian cuisine.

When I asked around where would be a good place to eat the Amazonian fish paiche, the largest fresh-water fish in the world, I was told to head to El Mijano in Punchana.

Iquitos is the largest city in the world without road access to any other place. You can only get there by river or air. Unless you walk, of course.

As a result of its vehicular isolation, there aren't many automobiles in Iquitos, but there sure are a lot of moto-taxis.

They are the best way to get around, and a good way to catch a breeze in the hot and humid Amazonian climate.

This is the view of your driver when you are sitting in the back of a mototaxi. Within 30 minutes of landing in Iquitos, I was told it was the noisiest city in Peru, thanks to the din of the moto-taxis. Nonetheless, they grow on you.

The moto-taxi driver knew exactly where El Mijano, and from the center of Iquitos we took off to the the neighboring district of Punchana, about 20 minutes away.

In Iquitos, I became addicted to the ice cold camu camu drink, made from a tart Amazonian fruit. It was the perfect way to cool off in the heat.

I also learned that when entering a restaurant and deciding where to sit, look for the ceiling fans and sit under them.

For some reason coastal Peruvian ceviche is popular in Iquitos, but this ceviche was made with paiche. I think I prefer coastal ceviche on the coast.

This was a dish of breaded and fried paiche served with a creamy garlic sauce. I had heard that paiche was a very delicious fish, and truth be told, it is absolutely wonderful. I can't describe the exact flavor except to say that it is very good and unlike any other type of fish I've tried.

Restaurant Cebichería El Mijano
Amazonas 829, Punchana, Iquitos


Click here for the Peru Food main page.

TAGS: Peru, Peruvian, food, cooking, cuisine, cocina, comida, gastronomía, peruana


Juan Arellano said...

Paiche is great... but not in Cebiche. Almost ten years living in Iquitos didn't made me take the taste on that. Now in Lima again i see i was not wrong.

BTW, Mijano is a very good place, I used to go there 1pm and stay until 4 or 5pm. They have a music group that plays different kinds of music.

::Alejandro:: said...

Juan, I absolutely agree with you, and it did not take ten years in Iquitos to figure that out...


Rogelio said...

I just come back from Iquitos City, and every dish was a magic experience. I was absolutely happy for 4 days!!!

ñum ñum