Just Like Mom’s…But Not Really

28 May

So as a class we all went to Mo-Chica, the supposedly Peruvian restaurant. Before going, I was incredibly biased; My whole life, ever since I can remember my parents, native Peruvians, always looked for adequate Peruvian restaurants in the U.S. However, my parents are very picky and in a way, the Peruvian food my mom makes isn’t very authentic, in that, according to my parents, restaurants in Peru rip you off, for example: for a lomo saltado, my mom would put a lot of beef strips on each plate whereas a restaurant would save money putting very little meat and a heap of rice on each plate.

Obviously, my parents have high standards, if they disparage of even restaurants in Peru, and they especially didn’t like Mo-Chica when we came to eat here in the fall of 2010. We all ordered different dishes and my parents found fault with everything, and I remembered the differences when we visited this past week. Major differences included how rice was served in a separate bowl, which is a distinctively Asian tradition. Also the ceviche appetizer had a great deal of variation. There’s ceviche in many Latin American countries, but the Mo-Chica ceviche was the first I’d ever seen with seaweed included. One of the biggest surprises was the seco de cordero, which means lamb instead of the usual beef I”m used to. When it came I was very surprised at all its entirety—there was an addition of beans, a strange new flavor attributed to the beer sauce in the cilantro sauce; and the lamb flavor completely changed the dish that I grew up with.

For me, all these changes are inferior to the comforting dishes that represent home, however in regards to authenticity, it’s difficult to label what’s authentically Peruvian. Peru is made of many influences including Chinese and Japanese, and there are different native foods from different regions like the Amazon and the Andes. Thus, with such a great variation already in Peru, it is inevitable that there’s a constant debate aboutwhat is authenticity in Peruvian cuisine.

So the Mo-Chica dinner that seems like a completely new dish to me, may be a dinner that tastes like home to someone else. And many people who are unfamiliar with Peruvian cuisine in general may thoroughly enjoy it regardless of authenticity; Take it from my friend:

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