Food Culture, Travel

Street Food and Fiestas

Lechon, Roast Pork, on the Street (Wayra)

To go to  fiesta is not only to enjoy the dance troupes and other performances, it is to eat.  Food is an important part, both where the cargos, the people who sponsor the troupes, serve those who dance and guests, as well as in the streets.  To make sense of this is is useful to observe street food in the recent fiesta in Paucartambo.

As every year the fiesta in Pucartambo is amazing.  Large numbers of people arrive from all over Peru.  They come to celebrate the three days of feasting that are lived in this welcoming town.

A Steaming Bowl of Adobo (Wayra)
A Steaming Bowl of Adobo (Arnold Fernandez Coraza)

After arriving in this town that is some three hours from the city of Cuzco, some people decide to walk around and explore the small streets of the town.  You will see various vendors selling cloths, blankets, household implements, as well as much more.  They may have stands or they may simply lay their wares on a piece of plastic on the ground.  The fiesta always involves a market.

Food, though, is what draws most attention.  Various kinds of dishes are prepared and offered to passersby for them to enjoy while they are at the fiestas.

Food in the Street in Paucartambo (Wayra)
Food in the Street in Paucartambo (Arnold Fernandez Coraza)

In the morning several stands and cafes open which serve the popular chicken soup that is much loved in Cuzco, especially for breakfast.  You will also find the delicious adobo soup made from pork.  These are the two most common dishes described on the small blackboards in front of place after place.  They cost 10/S a bowl, a bit more than three dollars, a price that is comfortable for people and makes them not hesitate to warm up with a tasty bowl of steaming soup. In this way they taste the sazon, the flavors the women of Paucartambo are able to invoke.

Other women offer lechon, roast pork, from small carts in the street.  They sell these cuts of meet on brown paper for some five soles a portion, less than two dollars.  The scent of roast pork draws people who then cannot manage to not try some.

Bread and Cake for Sale on the Street (Wayra)
Bread and Cake for Sale on the Street (Arnold Fernandez Coraza)

You will also see the dish called arroz con huevo rice with egg,  It is always present int he fiestas.  The women who sell it set up on several street corners of the town.  They serve this dish as well as a saltado, a stir fry, for  only three soles, about one dollar.

In the town’s main market you will see vendors offering a classic lomo saltado, a beef tenderloin stir fry to which they add an egg.  The market fills with people at lunch time.

Fast food makes its presence felt as afternoon falls.  You will find anitcuchos, skewered meat, as well as hamburgers, and small restaurants offering pizzas.  These delight people who come to the fiestas and need a quick meal or snack.

The fast food vendors are the only ones who stay late, once night has fallen.  You will find them perfuming the streets with their cooking food as well as surrounded by diners at all hours of the night.

Only at dawn do they make their way home, jsut at the soup vendors set up to greet the people with morning.

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