Peruvian Cuisine

Food Cart Squid Ceviche; Good, Tasty, and Cheap

Ceviche of Pota on the Street

When the first rays of dawn appear each summer on the coast, our mind fills with ideas of all the activities we can do on the coast. To be connected to nature, and especially the ocean, is a must during these months in order to revitalize our body and mind. Like magic the sea and beach change us for the good. Our problems seem less and optimism takes us over.

Just as nature and our friendships as important, so too is enjoying good food. In this summer, one kind of food stands out: seafood and fish. It is intensely flavored, refreshing, and above all revitalizes your body after a night out. Its great quantity of phosphorous and vitamins nourish our bodies. It helps us recover the vitamins and minerals we spent in a long night of partying

In addition, these dishes that include lime and fish have an amazing flavor. This is what draws people to them when near the ocean. But people’s imagination has no limits. They bring together the ingredients for a ceviche—lime, hot peppers, and cilantro, and then changed the fish for a different ingredient to reduce the cost significantly. They used a jumbo squid, called the Humboldt squid (dosidicus gigas). In Peruvian Spanish we call it pota. It is a giant calamari. You clean it and then cook it in boiling water until it is soft. Then you cut it into small squares and chill it. You keep it cold so that it will not ruin the temperature of a ceviche since it is served cold.

This dish derives from the traditional ceviche. It originated on the north and south edges of Lima, called the conos, where people were not used to spending twenty soles (a bit more than 7 dollars) for a dish. They prefer to eat something that has a good taste but is much less expensive. This ceviche de pota runs about three soles (a bit more than 1 US dollar.) This is a huge difference from more standard ceviche.

Because it is cheaper, compared to fish ceviche, this dish became popular and could be consumed in quantity. As a result, you will find this humble dish in the classic, white food carts. It is displayed as one of the varieties possible. The pota and the other ingredients are in cases separated by glass and are mixed to order. In less than two minutes the attendant can throw together a wonderful ceviche. They are very fast. Everything favors the quick flow of sales and the client’s satisfaction.

This dish also became well known is because of its relatively good profit margins, since the people making it have relatively few resources to invest in a business and then wait for this to bring in profits. You can buy a kilo of pota for 1 sol and from that kilo you can make twenty servings.

The raw cost of serving of this ceviche runs 60 to 70 cents and it sells at three soles. This means it can earn you a profit of 450%. As a result, making and selling ceviche de pota has become a popular and good investment. With only a small investment you can get large profits. It is not a significant risk for the entrepreneur’s budget. Each day they tend to earn a bit more than the average wage which is about 30 S/ per day (a bit more than 10$US).

Besides cheap, this dish is really good. It is also accessible to all people. This wonderful derivation of ceviche is reaching many new places in Peru with its motto: good, tasty, and cheap.

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