[Ceviche: A Symbol of Peruvian Gastronomy]
In recent years, Peru, often regarded as one of Latin America's culinary gems, has its national dish known as "ceviche." Ceviche is a marinated dish made from fresh seafood, typically fish, combined with citrus juices like lime and lemon, sliced purple onions, garlic, chili peppers, cilantro, and various spices.
While its origins have different theories, archaeological findings have revealed that pre-Incan civilizations such as the Moche and Mochica people in the northern coastal regions of Peru were already consuming something similar to ceviche over 2000 years ago. In Latin America, particularly along the Pacific coast, seafood has always been abundant. Octopus, squid, shrimp, and more have been enjoyed much like in Japan. In 2004, Peru officially declared ceviche as part of the nation's cultural heritage, and June 28th was designated as "Día Nacional del Cebiche" (National Ceviche Day).
Ceviche comes in various forms, with different types of seafood and ingredients used depending on the country or region. In Peru, it's common to serve ceviche with boiled sweet potatoes and corn. The flavorful juice that results from marinating the seafood and vegetables is known as "leche de tigre" (tiger's milk). It's considered nourishing and revitalizing. Interestingly, in Peru, it's said that eating fish at night can lead to stomach discomfort, or there simply isn't a tradition of eating fish at night. Consequently, many cevicherías, specialized ceviche eateries, only operate during lunch hours.
Ceviche can be enjoyed as a refreshing seafood salad. The base seasoning is simple, consisting of salt, black pepper, chili powder, and more. However, it's the refreshing citrus from the lime, the aromatic kick from garlic and cilantro, and other robust flavors that make it different from sashimi, allowing you to savor the essence of raw seafood in a unique way. With the heat still lingering, why not try making it at home?
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