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Cebiche huachano, a delight to discover just three hours from Lima: its peculiarities and where to try it

Three hours from Metropolitan Lima, in Huacho, capital of the province of Huaura, there is a ceviche that deserves greater prominence: the huachano ceviche, which is distinguished by two ingredients; the sour orange and the arnaucho chili.

Both ingredients have long been part of our history. In the case of the sour orange, the oldest thing that has been found in documents is in the inventory of the Convent of San Francisco de Asís de Huaura, where it is specified that they had 5 plants. Meanwhile, the ají arnaucho has been developing different variants in the Norte Chico.

Sour orange, a main ingredient in the preparation of Huacho ceviche.

“There are up to six varieties of arnaucho: the one from Caleta de Carquín, the one from the chapel of Huacho, the one from the mountain range… they are grown with different aromas and flavors,” says David Grados, chef and owner of El Rosal, one of the most representative restaurants in Huacho and which uses arnaucho in several of its preparations.

“The arnaucho cream is the base, for example, for tiraditos, and the whole chili is used for the duck ceviche, the dry huachana or the spicy sauces for the spicy seafood and the sudados. When you make a fish stock, you always add two arnauchos to give it a mild spiciness and achieve that concentrate that all Chilcano has. Even tiger milk with that background enhances and lifts the ceviches well,” says the expert.

The arnaucho chili has a different variety in Supe, in the province of Barranca.

“The combination of sour orange and arnaucho chili gives off an aroma very different from any other ceviche. When the dish arrives, those who come to visit Huacho, it is something they really like,” describes Luis Carmín, from the El Coral cebichería, located in the city’s port.

Know to value

Both El Coral and El Rosal are two spaces that work to give notoriety to the huachano ceviche that previously had other important stands. For 12 years, for example, the Huachano Cebiche Festival was held in Huacho and, in 2013 and 2014, both the huachano ceviche and the duck ceviche were presented at the now defunct Mistura fair, highlighting the particularity of their ingredients.

Huacho gourmets.

“Today we want (this dish) to be promoted a little more and to encourage the non-loss of these characteristic inputs,” explains archaeologist Miguel Ángel Silva, deputy manager of Tourism Development of the Provincial Municipality of Huaura. And, due to the expansion of urban areas, the production of these valuable inputs has been decreasing.

“Many houses that were part of the Huacho countryside, which belongs to the Santa María district, have been disappearing. Some families have been selling their properties and if you analyze today we do not find a farm with sour oranges, but rather they are products from the orchards,” says Silva.

Currently there are initiatives to try to encourage these crops. Silva highlights two: a 2022 council agreement to plant sour oranges and arnauchos in some schools so that they are cared for by the schoolchildren themselves “and thus create identity” and the distribution of seedbeds with these seeds to distribute them in specific places.

“In the main square of Huacho, sour orange plants have been planted so that tourists can identify the plant, since many consume it in duck ceviche,” says Silva, who is one of several people who have participated in the investigation for the preparation of the file titled “Practices and meanings associated with the preparation and consumption of ceviche, an expression of traditional Peruvian cuisine”, which this Wednesday was inscribed by the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Representative List of Heritage Unesco’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The alternative route of ceviche

The inclusion in this Representative List highlights the different types of preparation of ceviche throughout the Peruvian territory and, according to the official UNESCO website, the practices around it that make it “a representative element of unity in diversity, a ritual “which has to do with sustainable development and highlights the various systems of its production and marketing.” The Huacho ceviche is a clear example of this.

“Huacho being a port with very close beaches that offer various marine products, and having the valley that produces sour orange and arnaucho chili, our huachano ceviche is different and that should encourage more people from other parts to come specifically to try this dish,” says Luis Carmín.

“The huachano ceviche is an emblematic dish as is, for example, the anchovy charquicán. It is another curiosity to motivate the visitor,” adds Grados, who also highlights the affordable price (approximately 25 soles) of this popular dish.

Huacho is 3 hours from Metropolitan Lima. Do you dare to discover this other side of its gastronomic offer?

Where to eat?

These are 5 restaurants to eat huachano ceviche in Huaura:

Address: Jr. Salaverry 850, Huacho.

Address: Luna Arrieta 675, Huacho.

Address: Luna Arrieta 623, Huacho

Address: Av. Túpac Amaru 228m Carquín, Huacho.

Address: 480 Colón Street, Huacho.

How to get?

By own car: You must take the Panamericana Norte and do not stop until km 148.

By public transport: Buses leave from the Terminal Plaza Norte: Móvil Tours, Z Buss, Turismo Barranca.

Source: Elcomercio

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