Monthly Archives: September 2011

Vegetarian in Peru

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Internship Peru with Michael Ladd

Michael Ladd in Peru

Michael Ladd at his dream place, a land of mystery and rich culture—Perú.

My family here is extremely kind.  My host parents are always telling me that they want me to feel comfortable in their home and that their house is also my house.  As always, the food is an interesting situation because Peruvians eat meat very frequently, or at least it seems to be so.  Therefore, I have been eating a great deal of cereals such as quinoa, vena and rice, tofu (soy meat), potatoes and things of that sort.  All across the Andes the potato finds its way to the table for most meals.  This is largely because, as it turns out, the Incas were very skilled in agriculture and they developed more than 3,000 types of potatoes.  These and quinoa and kiwicha are important parts of the diets of Cusqueñas because they’re all-in-one meals.  You can get just about everything you need from any of these three Inca staples.  I know, you’re probably blown away, right?  It’s okay if you’re not as excited as I was when I learned of these miracle foods.

moray, Peru inca argiculture

This is Moray, the place was constructed by the Incas to serve as an agricultural laboratory. Each level in this laboratory has a distinct microclimate.

Corpus Cristi Festival. 

People walk from every district in Cusco carrying their Saints and Virgins to the Cathedral in the Plaza de Armas.  The farthest district from the Cathedral is San Jerónimo and they walk for many hours to arrive there.  A typical dish served during Corpus  is “chiri uchu” which consists of: guinea pig, corn cake, cocha yuyu (a type of algae), fish eggs, steak, cheese, and a sort of salsa.  In restaurants and in the streets as well, guinea pig was being sold.  I’m vegetarian and, therefore, have not tried this traditional dish, but I’m okay with that. I still enjoyed a concert during festival to listen, hangout, and celebrate.

corpus cristi festival, Peru

People walk carrying their Saints and Virgins to the Cathedral.

michael in his Peruvian dance group

I was fortunate enough to participate in one of these dances titled “Unay Carnaval.”

Andes tasty drink, cicha

I went to Saqusaywayman to see the celebration of Inti Raymi, or Party of the Sun in English.  It was a huge and amazing production and I didn’t have to pay to get in!  One other cool thing is that I ran into a guy, Rolando, from Quillabamba who arrived with me in Cusco about a month ago.  I didn’t think I’d ever see him again.  It was a great surprise.  We made the climb up to Saqusaywayman and watched Inti Raymi together.  After we chilled in a market and chatted over a chicha de quinoa, which is one of the tastiest drinks I have ever tried.

Inti Raymi, or Party of the Sun

Celebration of Inti Raymi, or Party of the Sun taken place at Saqusaywayman, Peru.

chica de quiona, Peru

While “chicha” is most commonly associated with maize, the word is used in the Andes for almost any homemade fermented drink, and many different grains or fruits are used to make "chicha" in different region.

Australian Delicacies

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Grub hunting with Cassie Byard

Aboriginal Australians, who live in remote areas inland, eat food that is easily available in the bush. They do not raise cattle and do not cultivate the land, but they have a strong knowledge of the environment and how to benefit from it.

Grub hunting

In the past, the wichetty grubs formed an important insect food in the diet of Aboriginal Australians living in the desert.

Grub hunting

Shovel in hands, ready for grub hunting.

the roots of the witchetty bush

The witchetty grub is a term used in Australia for the large, white, wood-eating larvae of the cossid moth, which feeds on the roots of the witchetty bush (named after the grubs) that is found in central Australia.

Cooking Grub

Edible either raw or lightly cooked in hot ashes, they are sought out as a high-protein food by indigenous Australians.

witchetty grub

The grub looks like a white large worm.

witchetty grub

The raw witchetty grub tastes like almonds and when cooked, the skin becomes crisp like roasted chicken, while the inside becomes light yellow, like a fried egg.

WINE TASTING AND PISCO SOURS IN CHILE

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Drinks in Chile with Nery, Executive Assistant

Nery with Pisco Sours

Nery ready to taste Pisco Sours

Chilean wine is one of the most exquisite in the world. During my visit in La Serena, we had a late dinner business meeting at one of the local restaurants where their specialty is steak and wine. The Coquimbo region is well known for the production of Pisco and table grapes.  So tasting wine seemed like a must-do that night. The local restaurant offered varieties of Chardonnay, Carbernet Franc, Carbernet Sauvignon and Merlot. That night, I tasted different Merlots and accompanied them with fresh Marraquetas (fresh bread), butter and mouthwatering short ribs.

Wine tasting in Chile

Wine tasting in Chile

Pisco Sour was another drink that we tasted the night before we left La Serena. This sweet-tart, cold, and refreshing national cocktail of Peru, is consumed in Chile as well. Made of pisco, lemon juice and sweetener, this sour formula makes every occasion more enjoyable.

Pisco Sours, Chile

Pisco sours, a popular Chile beverage

The meal we had that night at Mario’s Restaurant, a small, local place located a few steps from the beach, consisted of choritos (mussels) in green sauce, oysters, gambas (shrimp), machas (razor clams), scoop of flaked crab, locos (abalone), and rice. Wow! As I type this, my stomach is growling for this appetizing sea-food and my mind reminiscing a memorable night at La Serena.

Food and Wine, Chile

Fresh seafood paired with Chilean wine

Chilean Cafe

Chilean Coffee

We hiked up to the Cerro de la Virgen, just north of Santiago. The view offers vast panoramas of the entire Elqui Valley and the city of Santiago. However, it’s hot up there and a refreshing drink is always needed. So we tasted this traditional drink named Mote con Huesillo (husked wheat with peaches). Though its appearance may not be the best, it is sweet and refreshing. Just perfect for a Sunday afternoon at the mountain enjoying the nice view of the Chilean capital.

Mote en Chile

Refreshing traditional drink, Mote con Huesillo

Hong Kong

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Eating Our Way Through Hong Kong with Kim Hulse, AAG Senior Account Manager

Street-side eateries at the Temple Street Night Market

After wandering around for hours at this must-see market, allow yourself to get shown to a table at one of these tiny, outdoor restaurants. We grubbed on some delicious flat noodles and bok choy (Chinese cabbage) in oyster sauce.  We washed it down with Tsing Tsao beers all for under $7 US.  The group of guys next to us had the chili crabs and they looked phenomenal as well.  I knew we should have went for the crab!

scarfing noodles at night market

Scarfing noodles at night market.

Freshest Seafood at Tung Po

This place was the REAL Hong Kong.  A huge, super loud, packed room filled with plastic tables and chairs, water tanks galore with endless amounts of live creatures, and bowls of beer on every table.  That’s right, bowls, not glasses.  It was so great to see tons of locals gathered around gigantic tables playing dice or drinking games and laughing up a storm. Since this was one of June and Alex’s favorite places in the world for seafood, we let them order.  Soon our table was filled with black bean and chili clams, garlic shrimp and crab, eggplant casserole, and the best chicken that we have ever had, complete with crispy skin.  And we never eat the skin….but oh lord, was it good!

garlic crab, eggplant Casserole, and Bean chilli clams

Garlic crab, eggplant casserole, and bean chilli clams

crispy chicken with garlic

Crispy chicken with garlic...the skin was the best!

curry crab

Curry crab.

Shanghainese in Central

Again, thanks to our lovely host Doug, we were taken to another dining gem,  a great place in the Soho district of Central on Hong Kong Island.  We went to meet up with another one of Doug’s friends from high school, Kathy and nestled into our quaint little booth and started off with glass noodles and sliced pork.  We then had some steamy spring rolls and pork dumplings with liquified pork fat.  You have to bite off the top of the dumpling, let it cool, and then suck out the fat and then toss the dumpling in your mouth.  It sounds gross, but it was heaven.  I promise.  We then cried our eyes out as we inhaled a fantastic tofu dish in red sauce.  So painful, but so worth it.

pork fat dumplings

Pork fat dumplings.

So as you can see, Hong Kong totally lived up to our expectations.  We are so glad we stopped of here and were taken such good care of.  Thanks again June, Doug and Joseph!!

Traditional Japanese Food

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Traditional Japanese Food with Dorothy, Senior Project and AR Accountant at AAG

I’m a big fan of Japanese food. You can enjoy it at any time.

My favorite famous Japanese foods are sushi and sashimi. You can eat it with wasabi (green mustard), soy sauce, and sweet pickled ginger. It’s typical and traditional Japanese food. I eat these delicacy for lunch and dinner.

sashimi

Fresh raw fish and shrimp sashimi

Sashimi consists of very fresh raw meat, most commonly fish, sliced into thin pieces. Sashimi often is the first course in a formal Japanese meal, but it can also be the main course, presented with rice and miso soups in separate bowls.

sushi

Sushi is made of rice and fish/vegetables

Sushi consists of cooked, vinegared, white, short grained Japanese rice (shari) combined with other ingredients (neta). Neta and forms of sushi presentation are vary, but the ingredient which all sushi have in common is shari. The most common neta is seafood.

Most important for safe eating, the fish must be frozen at very low temperature that can help to kill most of bacteria. Generally you have to find special store for Sashimi since they have the ability to keep fish safe enough to eat.