Ceviche, Lima, Perú, April 20, 2018

I am staying in the Miraflores neighborhood in Lima. While things are well organized and fancy, it was hard to find a restaurant specializing in Ceviche(cevicheria) with a local vibe and more generous portions.

When I found myself in a less fancy neighborhood while installing a security film on the windshield, I took a break and visited a nearby Cevicheria. This was my second day of trying to have ceviche everyday in Peru.

You can choose the spiciness of the ceviche itself, but the accompanying red salsa (haven’t figured out what that is yet) is quite spicy. The other plate is fried corn. (Ceviche mixto, 20 soles)

@ Cevicheria El Tiburon, Lima, Peru, April 20, 2018

Fanesca, Quito, Ecuador, April 7th, 2018

Fanesca is a traditional soup in Ecuador usually consumed during the Holy Week, or Semana Santa. It is not too visible in pictures but there were lots of beans at the bottom of the bowl, and they say they use 12 different kinds of beans, representing the twelve apostles of Jesus. And one of the side dishes contains salted cod, or bacalao, symbolizing the Jesus.

As hinted by the appearance, it was thick and creamy. They say the recipe varies a lot regionally, so I’m happy to try it again at different places.

@honey & honey, Quito, Ecuador, April 7th, 2018

Emotional sauna, Quito, Ecuador, April 6, 2018

Today is my 4th day in Quito, but I haven’t explored the city much, well, at least in the touristy sense. The day I crossed the 4,000 meter-high mountain range to arrive in Quito, I saw my car struggling to go uphill – the speed was comparable to the human walking speed. Although I knew that there were only about 60% of oxygen at that altitude compared to the sea level, I thought something was definitely not correct. So I meant to thoroughly review the exhaust gas recirculation in Quito before heading for Peru, where the altitude goes up to 4,700 meters.

For some reason, reviewing the exhaust system was not a common practice in Quito – it took me 3 days to find a repair shop where they were willing to review the system. In the meantime, I was looking to buy a gas pressure gauge so that I can just check the exhaust pressure myself; however, all car part stores (I’ve contacted 9) said they didn’t have any type of gas pressure gauge. It was surprising because I believe it’s one of the basic tools.

After days of calling and visiting numerous shops, I realized that I was exhausted and slightly frustrated. Then my friend Gabriel offered to show me around the city after his work hours. He’s my old colleague in D.C. and he has been hosting me in Quito. I know that there’s not too much time left just to rest and relax after a day’s work, so I appreciate his kindness. Every once in a while, I meet hosts/friends with natural hospitality, whose energy wraps around my body and gives a sweet emotional sauna!

On another note, spending days in a city while fixing a car has not been particularly less enjoyable experiences. Sure, I get to sightsee less, but I talk with many local people who do businesses, either in person or on the phone. And I get to visit neighborhoods where the people just work hard and live and there’s usually no hint of foreigners.

*3rd photo – Ecuadorian ceviche. Seafood is cooked and then mixed with sauce, instead of being fermented as raw

*4th photo – Basilica del Voto Nacional

*5th photo – Plaza Grande

Ajiaco santafereño, El Mejor Ajiaco del Mundo, Centro, Bogota, Colombia, March 26, 2018

This soup is called Ajiaco. To be exact, this particular one is called Ajiaco Santafereño, implying that it followed the recipe in Santa Fe region in Colombia, I assume.

According to Google, Ajiaco is a popular dish found in Colombia, Peru, and Cuba, and the origin of the dish is still unclear.

As seen, the soup contains chicken, potato, corn and avocado. Although the list is not enough to give an idea about the taste, it was like a smooth and medium-heavy chicken soup.

@El Mejor Ajiaco del Mundo, Centro, Bogota, Colombia, March 26, 2018

Bandeja paisa, Medellin, Colombia, March 17, 2018

Bandeja Paisa is one of the most typical dishes in the Paisa region in Antioquia, Colombia.

As a friend once said, it’s basically three portions in one dish. If you know me, you know that I’m easy to please taste-wise, but not so much amount-wise.

I don’t know whether the one I got was a modern-interpretation, but it was not as big as I had imagined. Still, it was heavy and cost-effective. The long, dark yellow one on the top is fried plantain. Others include fried potato, grilled pork, salted white rice, a quarter avocado, red beans and their juice. 15,000 pesos (5.25 USD)

@Restaurante Jhojan, Medellin, Colombia, March 17, 2018

Panamanian meal, La Parada, Panamá city, Panamá, February 23, 2018

These days I’m enjoying days with no plans (well, I’m still working hard to catch up on things that are not about travelling). By chance, my hostel is a bit far from the city center, so I’ve been stuck at the hostel while only making occasional visits to a nearby mini market to buy eggs and onions to make my repetitive but otherwise satisfactory meals.

As I was going to the mini market today, one señora suggested me a local restaurant. It turned out that it was right next to the market – I hadn’t noticed the place due to its very humble appearance.

I had a typical meal, which was the only option : rice and beans, salad, and spicy chicken stew. It cost 4.75 dollars. My feeling is that this was the typical meal in Costa Rica as well 🙂

The name of the place was La Parada, the bus stop. After taking a seat, I realized that it was a descriptive name.

@la Parada, Panamá city, Panamá, February 23, 2018

Go-to dinner menu, hostal casa nativa, Panamá city, Panamá, February 19, 2018

It turns out this is my favorite combination as a dinner when 1) I can use a kitchen 2) I have time to do grocery shopping and cooking 3) and I am not interested in trying the local cuisine at the moment.

Actually this was one of my go-to menus when I was living in DC. Old tastes die hard.

@hostal casa nativa, Panamá city, Panamá, February 19, 2018

Chris and Pupusa,santa Ana, El salvador, February 8, 2018

The first thing I was thinking about as I was approaching El Salvador was Pupusa. Pupusa is a corn or rice tortilla stuffed with a variety of fillings. I think I first tried pupusa years ago at a potluck at work in Washington DC and I remember thinking then, “This thing is more serious than what it looks like!”

And thanks Chris for the conversation on relationships, long term traveling, and other general craziness of yours which certainly dropped my jaw several times.

@santa Ana, El salvador, February 8, 2018

San Cristóbal de las casas, Mexico, February 4, 2018

Just so that my itinerary doesn’t get delayed anymore, and to get to the South American continent by March, I am speeding up for about two weeks. And the consequence of this today was that I had only 1.5 hours to spend in San Cristóbal de las casas, a city that serves as the ‘home base’ for travelers in Chiapas with lots of its attractions.

Just to trick my brain that I got a better feel for the place, I first went to the outlook at iglesia de Guadalupe. Then I went to a restaurant, El Caldero, specializing soups – soups are always right for me. I took the recommended traditional one, chipilin, which tasted similar to the Korean chicken soup.

@san Cristóbal de las casas, Mexico, February 4, 2018