Friday, February 08, 2008

Video: Lima's Holes-In-The-Wall, Temples Of Flavor

In Peru, the word huarique (wa-ree-key) refers to a very special type of restaurant: usually, it's a small, family-run establishment known for the quality of its food, often specializing in one dish, served informally at good value.

In English, the closest equivalent is a hole-in-the-wall.

But, we often find the best food at those holes-in-the-wall, don't we?

This video (in Spanish, but well-worth a view, although the high-pitched narrator IS annoying) comes to us from the program of Magaly Medina, a controversial Peruvian television personality. Her program, Magaly TeVe, is known for yellow-journalism focused on finding the dirt on Peru's minuscule movie and television community. She's a kind of Peruvian Perez Hilton, with her own TV show yet equally bad hair.

Magaly Medina aside, once in a while her show has more general interest features. This video is one such case.

In 06:38 minutes, one of her reporters visits four Lima huariques, and there are great views of Peruvian food and the inner workings of these humble establishments. Humble yes, but gastronomically rich.

The video starts off with the reporter shrieking: Comer rico no es un lujo, eating well is no luxury, especially if you go to those temples of flavor, the huariques, where Lima's best flavors are hidden.

The first place featured is a hole-in-the-wall if there ever was one: Chanfainita Plus on Avenida Jose Leal in Lima's Lince district. The specialty of the house? Chanfainita, a highly seasoned stew of organ meats and potatoes. Diners have been going to this locale, which only has two short counters and is run by Doña Cecilia, for the last 30 years. During her interview segment, Doña Cecilia says when she arrived in Lima decades ago from her native Arequipa, she began to cook chanfainita, and since then her business has grown and grown. And, while she has been offered the possibility of moving to a proper restaurant, she refuses to do so because she doesn't want to lose her current customers.

The next huarique featured is one written about here on Peru Food: Mi Perú in Barranco. The specialty of the house is the concentrado de cangrejo, a crab concentrate, and tortilla de huevera, a roe omelette. Mi Perú has also been in business for the last 30 years, and is well worth a visit.

Magaly's reporter also visits the Establecimiento del Tío Mono in Ciudad del Pescador, part of El Callao's (the port of Lima) Bellavista neighborhood. This is a northern-Peruvian style restaurant that started out ten years ago in the owner's living room. In fact, the owners moved out the sofas to put in the tables and chairs. The specialty of the house is parihuela, a Peruvian seafood stew, and most of the dishes are prepared with a home-brewed chicha de jora, fermented corn beer, which customers also like to drink. They also serve ceviche, as you can see in the video.

Finally, the video moves to
Café Tostado, literally Toasted Coffee, specializing in another soupy stew, sancochado. Why the name? In a previous life, the locale had been a coffee toasting establishment. Owner Pepe Yufra began his business when, after selling his home-made sancochado to his co-workers, they told him he needed to open up his own place.

There's a great line around this time on the video: it says that while these places aren't five-star restaurants, there are manos santas, holy hands, that cook in them.

And, of course, the final line is typically Peruvian: ¡¡A comerrrr!!! ... Let's eat!!

At the end of the video, there is about a minute (from 06:38 onwards) of Magaly Medina giving her personal spin on these huariques. I would just click off at that point.

¡¡A comerrrr!!!

Click here for the Peru Food main page.

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


Avilio Jimenez said...

I'm from Peru... and watching all those dishes... it made me drool... I lived for almost 20 years in Barranco and some of those places made me wanna go back. I want a Huevera Frita. :P

::Alejandro:: said...

They can Fed Ex you huevera frita ... just kidding! Thanks for stopping by again.