Any true peruano will tell you, we take our food very seriously. Seeing as though we have been deemed (by both ourselves and many others) as the gastronomic pearl of the world, it would only make sense that we host the largest food festival in Latin America.
Mistura is an annual food fest where thousands of Peruvians and tourists come together to celebrate the country’s cuisine by eating to their heart’s content. The fair is truly a testimony to how embedded food is within this country’s culture.
If you attend, I can assure you that after a few bites, you’ll begin to understand why we take food so seriously.
When is Mistura?
Mistura is held in early September every year.
Where is Mistura?
This year’s Mistura will be held on the Costa Verde, the coastal road connecting seven of Lima’s main districts. The location provides easy access for both tourists (that usually stay in these areas) and locals.
What should you expect at Mistura?
As you explore the fair’s grounds, you’ll find globally renowned Peruvian icons like Gaston Acurio alongside common street vendors that come from all over the country to serve their food. The fair prides itself on becoming a space where culinary experts of all backgrounds come together to showcase their Peruvian pride through what they cook. Hundreds of stands line up and there’s food as far as the eye can see (and as far as the nose can smell).
You’ll see the classics: cuy (guinea pig), lomo saltado, ají de gallina, and papa a la huancaína. These dishes present not only a wide range of tastes, but also Peru’s geographical regions. Peru’s diverse geography (a combination of dry coastline, extensive mountain ranges, and dense jungle) lends itself to an array of flavors most countries do not have the luxury of cultivating. Dishes from this triad of diversity spread across the fair.
Desserts are generously served and abundant. You’ll find picarones, tres leches, alfajores and trufas—desserts your heart didn’t know it desired because it didn’t even have names for them.
You’ll spot great fusion too; Peru’s Chinese and Japanese immigrant population is huge, and many of these Asian flavors have infiltrated the Peruvian palate and left a positive mark. Chifa (Peruvian-Chinese hybrid) is common, as well as sushi infused with hints of ceviche.
Undoubtedly, the market is one of the fair’s highlights. Here, you’ll spot farmers and vendors selling anything from fresh Peruvian fruits like lúcuma and tuna (yes, tuna is a fruit) to a diverse range of potatoes (Peru has thousands of types native to the country). Quinoa is displayed and sold for a quarter of what foreigners are used to seeing at their local supermarkets. Bakers sell fresh bread of all shapes and sizes. Many vendors even grab some of their products and cook for you so that you can see how the raw market flavors can come alive with a few simple tosses.
As if the food itself wasn’t enough, live performances are served alongside the food to further showcase Peru’s diversity. Huayno (traditional music of the mountains) is sung and dancers perform in traditional, Peruvian clothing.
Food From Around the World
Despite being a predominantly Peruvian food festival, Mistura still keeps a global culinary agenda by inviting guest countries to share their customs and traditions with the fair’s attendees. Last year, Indonesia was selected, and typical dishes like satay and rending were served alongside the heavy flow of chicharrón, picarones and ceviche.
With that said, the agenda is primarily peruano. So, come with an appetite eager to delve into the many traditional dishes this country has to offer and you won’t be disappointed.
How To Prepare for Mistura
Show up with an empty stomach and a group of friends that are eager to eat. With that, you’re good to go.
For more info on last year’s festival, check out http://mistura.pe.
Cover Art: Thinglink
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