A Delicious Treasure Found in Lima, Patasca (Hominy Soup)
A hominy soup is made from the concentrated broth of veal head in order to impart a distinctive and unusual taste. The ingredients presented in this very popular dish from Lima are, white hominy, boiled yellow potatoes, pieces of boiled beef, and the substantial broth where all the products I just mentioned dance in each spoonful you lift to your mouth.
The price of this soup varies according to the size of the bowl. You can find a 3/S and a 5/S offering. The difference is that for the five soles they give you half a bowl more as a second offering and they give you more meat.
When you walk through the large and great city of Lima, especially in the district of La Victoria, you can observe is heavy vehicular and foot traffic. In December the traffic gets very intense, especially in Gamarra. People come from all the different regions and cities of Peru in order to buy merchandise there whether of clothing, toys, or articles for the home. In this commercial spot you can also appreciate food carts with prepared food dispersed over every block. The carts sell to the general public a great variety of foods, including cebiches, causa rellena (a potato terrine), hamburgers, and offerings from all three of Peru’s major regions: coast, mountains, and jungles.
While people rub shoulders the day passes and nocturnal street food arrives. You will see anticuchos, chicken soups, hamburgers and coffees, and the well-known and well promoted hominy soup (caldo de mote). These all arrive steaming hot in order to fight off the city’s humid cold.
Around 6:30 pm when day passes suddenly to night, I was walking with my very good friends and colleagues Walter and Arnold. We were looking for something different to eat. We walked down a couple of blocks close to Gamarra. The fast food carts were illuminated with light bulbs. Everything looked delicious but we wanted a soup, hot and light.
Along the whole way we saw a lot of options, but the carts with sign in colorful print shouting out caldo de mote, hominy soup, caught my attention. All around the car were a lot of people and that made us want even more to try the soup that was drawing such a crowd.
The casera who served the soup was a young and dark woman. She gave smiles away to all her clients and she would ask each how the soup was. They would respond: “It is delicious”; “It is perfect;” or “it is wonderfully rich”.
She had the soup simmering there on her cart in order to offer it to her clients. To the side she had deep porcelain bowls in which she served up the soup. In three plastic containers she also had diced green onion, ground aji peppers, and slices of limes, respectively. These ingredients added even more flavor to the soup and more color according to the taste of the clients.
When she served me my soup, a wonderful aroma rose from the bowl. I slowly tried it in order to appreciate even more its flavor. The hominy combined well with the broth. It was tender and filled with flavor. The meat was also soft and fell apart when I chewed. The whole potato also took on the taste of the broth. It was all wonderful and very agreeable. With a spoonful of green onions and hot peppers it felt like a traditional Andean dish chairo, which is also a hot soup.
After savoring and finishing the hominy soup we returned the empty bowls to the casera. She received them and asked us, just like everyone else, how we liked it. We thanked her and told her it was delightful and filled with flavor. We said she has special hand in order to prepare such wonderful soup.
We had a great experience trying that concentrated soup. Beyond Lima’s famous restaurants you can also find wonderful food on the streets where every social class eats.
People come to the Victoria District from all over Peru in order to dp commerce. As a result, this dish is not only well known in lima, it is found in other cities of Peru where it is called patasca, using its Quechua name. In Spanish that means broken or split and refers to the cooked corn hominy.