Saturday, September 20, 2008
Friday, Sept. 19
Mom-and-pop fishermen are known as "pescadores artesanales," a tribute to the craft of fishing without the militaristic gear of commercial boats. Here in Pucusana, a dry coastal village about 60 km south of Lima, the muelle chico (small wharf) is dominated by hand-painted wooden boats owned by fishing families.
The fishing may be small-scale, but the collective toll is significant. There aren't many big fish left here, one local explains, and the next generation may have an even smaller catch. Without regulations, the pescadores continue scooping up whatever they can; even the little fish can be chopped up and eaten in ceviche.
A note on ceviche: The Peruvian staple is made with chunks of raw fish and garlic-flavored lime, served with thinly sliced onion, cilantro and sides of fat Peruvian corn and sweet potato. I ask about the risk of parasites in the raw fish, but the locals answer, "It's not raw; it's cooked in lime." Peruvian limes have a really high acid content, they explain, which kills any little organisms that might be living on the flesh. I don't know if that's a safeguard against Bubble Guts, but the fish pieces do appear opaque on the outside.
My new Peruvian friends are quick to warn me that I shoudn't trust the Chilean ceviche, because they use a weaker lime. It's part of a pattern of general disdain for anything Chilean. The Chileans are stuck-up, they say. They have no culture. And their Pisco sucks.
I fly to Chile Sunday morning, so vamos a ver.
Posted at 9:17 AM