When you think of the word ceviche, what exactly comes to mind? For me, ceviche entails something of a certain elegance or level of richness only found at the highest quality restaurants in the United States. I may be making an overgeneralization, however, I find that most Americans view ceviche the same way I do- as a dish not eaten daily. However, after spending a few days dining throughout Lima, I have found that ceviche has a different meaning to Peruvian culture. I always said I could eat ceviche for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; Well, in Lima I practically did. Ceviche is almost embedded in Lima’s natural daily cuisine. Peruvians view ceviche not as a selective dish, but rather as a commonality found on many restaurant menus’.
When we took a cooking class at el restaurante El Bolivariano in Lima, their Peruvian chefs taught us how to hand-make a classic ceviche dish. The simplicity of the ingredients used to make Peruvian ceviche took me by surprise. As I looked at the ingredients in front of the chef, I saw simply cut peppers, onions, ginger, tomato, corn, and basil along with salt, and a simple homemade sauce tasting primarily of lime. The chef mentioned that the specific type of fish used didn’t matter as much as the technique of filleting the fish. She then mixed the filleted fish in a bowl with the sauce and equally proportioned spoonful’s of each ingredient and plated the finished masterpiece. Hand-made ceviche can obviously not be mass produced, however, I found the preparation to be rather simple and easy to follow. The chef at El Bolivariano, to me, disproved an American stereotype about ceviche. Perhaps the name ceviche itself gives it a type of elegance, but in Peruvian culture this dish can be found everywhere and at a decent price I may add.