Food: Chapter 1–Avoiding McDonalds in Arequipa

A lot of cool things happened to me today, but I will save most of them for later because I thought it would be fun to share my first foray into finding my afternoon meal. Living at a B and B is great because breakfast is served first thing in the morning and you don’t even have to think about it. But the other meals are not included, so I have to find other possibilities. Yesterday, I accompanied another visitor to one of his favorite places to eat, but today I was on my own. Luckily, I can eat a nice meal in the middle of the afternoon and be done for the day. I am trying to keep my expenses way down and my pre-trip research revealed that excellent meals can be very cheap here. So I have budgeted between $3 and $4 per day for meals. Sound astonishing? Well read on…

Walking back toward the Plaza de Armas, I perused menus on the street for a wide variety of eateries–many of which I was hesitant to enter. Of course, as you get within a block of the touristy Plaza de Armas, you find the ubiquitous KFC, Burger King, Pizza Hut, McDonalds, and Starbucks. Those were way off my list of places to eat!

Martha (pronounced “Marta”) encourages passers-by to come in and try the selections.

Then I found 2 or 3 that looked promising and because this cute, smiling young woman was encouraging folks to come in and because the  price was right–I decided to give it a try.  It was the right decision.



(El Perejil means “The Parsley.”)

Here’s the menu. Choose one from Entradas, one from Secundos. My nice waiter, Leo, explained the selections as well as he could, given that I understand so little Spanish, and he smiled when I told him that I make tamales. (I am anxious to try the Peruvian style tamales.)

I chose the palta relleno (stuffed avocado salad). (I know aguacate is avocado in Spanish, but in Peru, they call them paltas. It was tempting to get the tamal, but I’ll do that next time, for sure. This turned out to be a kind of chicken salad with peas on top of the avocado with a side of corn nuts.  In the background is the included refesco (soft drink), which was actually chica morada, a special Peruvian non-alcoholic drink made with purple maiz. You can find a recipe for it here.

Second course was pollo a la plancha (grilled chicken) and it came with papas (potatoes)  and arroz (rice). It is not uncommon to find both of these starches on the plate here.

I had had plenty to eat, but just as I finished my last bite, Leo brought me a small postre (dessert) of sliced bananas. Perfect!

The bill? 8 soles or about $2.80–including tax and no tip. (You don’t customarily tip in restaurants in Peru.) As my Dad used to say, “You can’t beat that with a stick!” Come to think about it, Daddy would have really appreciated that meal and the price tag!

In case you are ever in Arequipa, El Parejil is just blocks from the Plaza de Armas on Mercaderes between Calle Rivero and Calle Peral. Just look for the smiling young woman out front!



3 thoughts on “Food: Chapter 1–Avoiding McDonalds in Arequipa”

  1. What fun! What an adventure you're having.
    The lengths to which you will go in pursuit of potatoes is remarkable!
    If you ever wonder what you are doing, well, one way of looking at it is that
    you are providing a bunch of us a vicarious thrill.
    Emily MacRae
    Vashon, WA

  2. Your blog is very fun to read and what you are doing is remarkable and inspiring. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to reading more.
    Amy Morrison

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