Lizard cebiches and pot-baked ducks are just two local dishes waiting to surprise you and your taste buds. Welcome to the world of Jequetepeque, San Pedro de Lloc and Pacasmayo cuisine!By Renzo Guerrero De Luna of El Comercio
One of the best cebiches in San Pedro de Lloc, capital of the province of Pacasmayo, doesn’t contain fish… nor shellfish… as the principle ingredients. Alfonso Tapia, in his restaurant El Cazador, prepares his famous speciality with something altogether less expected: local reptiles.
Local lagartijas form the base of his dish, and the chef himself goes out into the barren desert each morning armed with a pellet gun to hunt them, as the name of his restaurant suggests.
Skinned, or rather scaled, the reptile meat is boiled for two minutes before being minced. Doused in lemon juice, garlic, salt and chilli, it is ready to be served. A true masterpiece that can’t be missed, for both its unique flavour and its oddity, just and hour and a half outside Trujillo.
Before entering Pacasmayo you can turn off the highway and pass through some of the nearby villages, and if possible go as far as Guadalupe to try its impressive turkey sandwiches. In Jequetepeque you have to try the delicious pot-baked duck of the Esteves family. Raised on their farm, these birds could easily be prize-ducks. Be sure not to miss the desert here at El Huerto de Sabor, the famous claro jequetepenano, a delicious sugary treat, nectar of the gods.
Javier Paémac, president of the recently formed Pacasmayo Chamber of Commerce that looks to promote the charms of this region, recommends, as well as the lizard-based dishes of Alfonso Tapia, the tamales and humitas of the Reyes Mayanga sisters.
In the Plaza de Armas, the sisters are in themselves a local tradition. Angélica, Lupe and Juana share clients between 9am and 2pm, and manage to sell around 600 portions on the corned of the square. They are unmissable.
In Pacasmayo there are many options for second-breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and supper. We begin with Café Café, one of the most traditional locales, located in the street Jr. Junín just off the Plaza de Armas. Renowned for its chifa nights (they say you’ll eat the best chifa in northern Peru), it is also the best place to grab breakfast… a breakfast of humongous chita fish. They have more than 30 years caring for the quality of their food. They’ve created a number of emblematic local dishes; “niños envueltos” – a plain sounding but delicious not-to-be-underestimated stuffed cabage, and some stunning pasta dishes with home-made sauces.
In Pacasmayo you’ll also find a restaurant named Aruba, where you can eat a simply spectacular sudado de chirlo, and El Chayo that is recognised for its lamb seco.
If you are staying long enough you should also try the sudado de mero fish from the restaurant Tabaris, the crab reventado of the Gran Chimú, the fish and seafood of Pelican’s, the picante de mariscos of La Casona among others. And of course, leave yourself time to take a stroll along the jetty, walk out along the peer, and have a drink at the El Faro Adventure Resort, a magical place overlooking a beach popular with surfers where you could also spend the weekend.
Tel: (51)(044) 522716
Restaurante El Cazador
Tel: (51)(044) 528604 / (044) 94963-1727
Restaurante El Huerto del Sabor
Tel: (51)(044) 310921 / (044) 589146
Tel: (51)(044) 94805-2985
El Faro Adventure Resort
Tel: (51)(044) 521969