The northern coast of Peru is known for its eats and as I stopped in my last area before I head to the big city of Lima, I intended to shove in all the seafood I could. There was a lot of ceviche had as well as other scremingly fresh seafood. The beachside town of Huanchaco meant prices were inflated for tourists, so a stop into Trujillo was a cheaper alternative.
Huanchaco did indeed have many tasty eats but many disappointments too. The oft recommended El Caribe that I went to for cangrejo reventado (the crab) was more expensive than it should’ve been and did not have seaweed in its crab. It was also creepily entirely empty, but perhaps I was there too early. I also attempted to go to former legend Mococho multiple times. It was closed on all the weekdays I went and I finally found it open on a Sunday. Instead of the two questions “how hungry are you” and “spicy or not spicy?” leading to an amazing omakase like experience, I got an exasperated older woman who didn’t know what to do with single, alone me in an empty restaurant. “We usually serve whole fish, but you… you are… alone!” She ended up serving me a fish fillet with a greasy nut based sauce and a half assed garnish. The lone good thing was her friendly son playing The Cure and other 80s rock . I also attempted to go to El Mochica, a famous criollo food restaurant to try Monday-only shambar or pigeon stew pasta but found the Huanchaco location only served the same old fried seafood and ceviche every other place had at nicer restaurant prices. Disappointing. The over twenty year old Don Pepe had been replaced by some surfer pizza place. It may not have been a culinary knock out but it was solidly good ceviche in many places.
Perhaps the best and most surprising meal may have been the one I stumbled onto at the place I was staying, the McCallum Lodging House. The place is run by a lovely family that will cook the standard things one expects from a restaurant when they have enough people. However I sniffed a family meal and nosed in to watch how they were doing it, and they invited me to join them for their clam, pepper & bread based stew. Ah, finally, the home style food that I couldn’t locate in a restaurant if I tried. This is on top of the good handful of marcianos (think fruit puree otter pops) that I also enjoyed here. So long Huanchaco, and thanks for all the fish.