Peruvian Festival 2019

Instagram Post 8/2/2019

If you love Peruvian cuisine as much as I do, you don’t want to miss New Jersey’s annual Peruvian festival held on the last Sunday of every July. Accompanied by an exuberant parade celebrating the country’s culture and national heroes, it’s traditionally staged in “Little Lima”, a neighborhood in Paterson that’s home to America’s largest Peruvian community, although this year’s culinary extravaganza took place in Passaic. A few photos of the delights we enjoyed:

(Click on any image to view it in high resolution.)

Anticuchos on the grill. Tender, marinated beef heart – Peruvian street food at its finest. Don’t be faint of heart about trying this: it’s just another cut of beef, and a particularly delicious one at that. If you like grilled meat, you’ll love this.

Anticuchos on the plate, always complemented by papas a la Huancaína, potatoes napped with a yellow, slightly spicy (from the aji amarillo pepper), cheesy (from the queso fresco) sauce. (And yes, that’s a bit of tripe peeking out from beneath.)

Smoked pork with arroz chaufa, Peruvian fried rice seen at almost every booth. It’s borrowed from the Chinese culinary tradition: chaufa and chaofàn are cognates.

Seco de Cabrito. Goat stew with papas a la Huancaína and arroz chaufa (of course).

Ceviche with camote (sweet potato), papa, and maiz tostado (toasted corn nuts), the classic combo. I saw a few versions at the festival; stands offered divergent types of fish and each had its own custom recipe for leche de tigre, the ceviche marinade.

Two of my favorite ice cream flavors sharing a single cup: lúcuma on top and cherimoya in a supporting role. The flavor of lúcuma has been compared to butterscotch or a mix of maple syrup and sweet potato; it’s difficult to find fresh lúcuma locally but the frozen pulp is easy to come by in Latin American markets. Cherimoya, sometimes called custard apple, can be found fresh fairly easily – frozen pulp is also readily available. If you have a blender, buy the frozen pulp and try your hand at making a batido!

Mark your calendars for next year’s event!