Take Your Crash Course on Southern American Cuisine at This Restaurant in Ortigas
by Erika Lagunzad, July 02, 2019 9:40am
photo by Dani Elevazo
When your taste buds are craving for something exotic without being over-the-top, South American cuisine is the route to go. And if you have hesitations about bold Latin flavors, Cocina Peruvia, with its flavorful Peruvian dishes, can ease you into appreciating the traditional food and culture of South America—it’s not just empanadas and grilled meats.
Cocina Peruvia first opened in 2015 in a time when the local restaurant scene didn't cater to a lot of South American flavors yet. Cocina Peruvia’s branches keep the charms of traditional Peru in an unfussy, homey set-up. The interior's soft colors remind us of simple festivities in Latin households, where anyone would feel welcome at home and comfortable enough to try their specialties.
Peruvian food isn’t difficult to adapt to; in fact, their dishes are quite similar to ours with its Spanish origins. There's rice, spices, and fresh fruit juices—and a lot of grilling—all in loud and bold flavors. One key difference is the Aji ingredient, a popular chili spice in Peru, that makes their dishes a tad bit spicier than our local cuisine.
To further ease you into transporting your tastebuds, the Classic Peruvian ceviche is for those who enjoy the local kinilaw. This light appetizer is a mix of shrimp, Mussels, Squid, Octopus, and aji rocoto—all drizzled in lemon juice.
Peruvian cuisine also has its ways of making you love a hint of spice. You can't go wrong with the Pasta A La Huancaina Chicken Pasta in rich and creamy Huancaina Sauce (450php). Adventurous beef lovers will also love the Anticuchos de Corazon de Vacaaka Beef Heart Skewers (320php), which is best enjoyed sinking your teeth into its lean meat while it's warm and dipped in aji anticucho sauce and chimichuri.
For the main dishes, there's a feast that'll be loved by seafood, meat, and chicken lovers alike. There is no better way to start a hearty meal at Cocina Peruva than with Aroz Con Mariscosaka Seafood Rice—a mix of rice, shrimp, mussels, squid and aji amarilla sauce. Best believe it’s a dish good enough to eat on its own.
Adobo Peruvia (1,1190php) is the Peruvian take on the classic Filipino Adobo, with pork belly topped with cream and salsa sauce. If you prefer chicken, there's the Pollo A La Brasa (380php), a rotisserie chicken marinated with aji panca and lomo sauce and slow-roasted in Southern American fashion so it is sure to deliver full flavor.
You can’t complete your meal without Galera de Chocolate (350php), a baked chocolate tart with dark chocolate ganache, topped with salty blue chips. This dessert is also playfully plated in a ceramic blue as the dessert resembles a boat in the middle of the ocean. One for the 'gram, if you ask us.
[photo of galera de chocolate]
Don't leave Cocina Peruvia without trying Peru's national drink, the Pisco Sour. Made with pisco (a common brandy in South America), egg white, lime juice, and bitters, this drink is best enjoyed with ceviche or as your cocktail of choice after a hard day's work. It's the fail-safe choice if you want your cocktail fix before, during, or after your meal—or all the times inbetween. We won't judge!
It's high time we change our perception thinking South American food are automatically just empanadas, or often directly associated with tex-mex dishes (e.g tacos, burritos, and chilli con carnes). On your next food adventure, savor the flavors of Southern American cuisine at Cocina Peruvia.
Cocina Peruvia is located at the Fifth Floor of The Podium, ADB Avenue, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City and is open from 11am–10pm.