Chicken hot off the rotisserie with french fries is a favorite food of Peruvians. Called “pollo a la brasa” which means “chicken cooked over charcoal (or flame)”, it builds on a traditional elite form of roasted chicken. Once the modern way of making it was invented in the fifties it went on to become number one in Peru.
Not only is it tasty, people get to choose how much they want. They can order an eighth, a quarter, a half or a whole chicken with crispy, flavorful skin and juicy flesh. Besides the fries, after you order your chicken you often will get a complimentary bowl of chicken soup, especially aguadito. Many palces also offer a salad bar and some include Peru’s other favorite food, arroz chaufa, fried rice. A whole series of similar foods have come to occupy a similar place as very popular Peruvian foods. There include salchipapas (or hotdog and fries) and pollipapas (fried chicken and french fries).
With the last of these in mind we went to check out Don Lucho Salchipapas and Pollipapas. It is a welcoming place in the Cuzco center, located on the Av Pardo 789. It belong to a gentleman identified as Luís H.H. (Huanca Huanca)and, as a result, takes his nickname Lucho, along with the term of respect “don”. This restaurant has many years of experience pleasing Cuzqueños and both it and its food have become very popular.
The owner is very well known among the restaurant’s clients. He can often be found helping patrons and ensuring that all is well in the restaurant. His place draws people from all the districts of the growing city of Cuzco as well as visitro to the city. For many people it is the point of encounter for dinner after a hard day of work. Sometimes it is the scene of romance for the couples who also make their way there. But it always seems the perfect place to celebrate an important occasion.
Don Lucho’s has three attractive and welcoming rooms waiting for his patrons. They are well lit and their white walls are decorated with large paintings of the picturesque scenes of Cuzco. These include traditional street scenes as well as the ever popular “chismosas” (the gossipers), merchant women with broad skirts and hats. The restaurants tables are white and the chairs green, making on the whole for a warm and comfortable place.
The kitchen is right by the side of the entrance. When you enter you can see the into it and observe its cooks well uniformed and working in hygienic conditions. You smell the aroma of the food when you enter the door. The specialty of the place is pollipapa, or chicken and potatoes. Besides tasty french fries to accompany the chicken, Don Lucho adds fried hot dogs. His potatoes are tasty and his condiments are thick and rich. They add a great flavor to the fried potatoes and chicken.
While most tourists congregate more on the Plaza, this is a place that draws the people of Cuzco. Captivated by the good tasting and popular food, the warmth of the attention, and a welcoming place they continually return to enjoy the plates from Don Lucho.
Many of the patrons take advantage of the meal to have a couple of beers to accompany their pollipapa, or simply to enjoy the beer. This place generally fills up completely, despite having three size-able rooms. Whenever Cuzco’s soccer teams, Cienciano or Garcilaso, play or when the national Peruvian selection plays you can not find a better place from which to view soccer on the screens and enjoy some food.
The restaurant is open from four in the afternoon until ten at night every day of the week except Sunday and holidays. During those six hours of fun the salchipapas and pollipapas fly from the kitchen to the tables for Cuzco’s families to enjoy them. The attention is excellent from the uniformed personnel. Besides beer, you can also enjoy an Inca Kola to accompany your meal.
If you find yourself in Cuzco and wish to enjoy an entire Peruvian phenomenon along with the people of Cuzco, you will want to go to Don Lucho. It offers a definite alternative to the classic pollo a la brasa.