Friday, July 6, 2007

“You learn more when you suffer”

My advisor thinks that I am a bit spoiled when it comes to the field conditions I have had while working in Peru. Mind you, while I have lived in a house without running water, used toilets with no paper, eaten only rice for dinner, battled human sized bugs, slept on the floor, and gotten sick from bad ice cream, my more recent field experiences have been considerably cushier. I have had the sheets on my bed changed regularly, warm showers, a private room, drapes on my windows, and, best of all, the food at T’anta.

Traditional Peruvian food is really quite good and I have had my share of lomo saltado, pollo a la brasa, and tallarin. Just as with eating the traditional meals of my homeland, I am ready for something different every now and then. T’anta is that ‘something different’ in Lima, Peru.

I do not like it because its food mirrors what I am used to in the States; I like it because they have taken menu items I am familiar with and recreated them through a Peruvian lens. I have sampled the Ensalada Limeña which is topped with fried maize balls, Ravioli Huancaina which is chicken filled raviolis topped with traditional Peruvian huancaina sauce, and pejerreyes fritos which is their version of fish and chips where the chips are fried yucca.

What separates this place from the rest, besides the markedly higher prices, is the range of food and the quality of the ingredients. The menu is varied enough for me to try something new everyday for three weeks and the ingredients are so fresh that this is one of the few places in all of Peru where I trust the salad won’t make me ill. The presentation also takes a turn away from the standard pile of food accompanied by the overturned bowl of rice and resembles little, nutritious works of art.

I must admit that T’anta does pose a problem for my student budget and I am not likely to be able to afford it very frequently while in Peru. It is still nice to be taken to lunch there by others with per diems larger than mine.

If living without T’anta means that I learn more, I may have to learn just a little less while in Peru.

Av. 28 de Julio 888
Miraflores, Lima

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