(Approximate reading time: 18 minutes)
Peruvian food is world famous and special. I lauded in an article before the HQ-tastiness of the Peruvian kitchen. But what about Peruvian beverages, can they also be special? And is it a good idea to call a shake a ‘Special Juice’?
During one of my last days in Peru, I was visiting one of many street markets in Lima. What I really like from these types of markets are not only the minor prices you pay for all sorts of staple food. No, it’s even better, that many small entrepreneurs run their independently business and sell whatever people need. In comparison to the big national supermarket chains Plaza Vea, Tottus and Wong, you have this individual customer approach and support local food as well.
Multicentro La Capullana
However, the ‘Multicentro La Capullana’ is located on Avenida Ramón Castilla in Santiago de Surco. Very close to my former accommodation and less than 10 minutes walking distance away. I liked to walk there in the mornings or midmornings and buy a few things I need. From the outside, you don’t really recognize it as a market, or (as they say) a ‘multicentro’:
But from the inside you will be definitely delighted about all the fruiterers, green-grocers, butchers, general dealers, etc. and their fresh and promising vegetables, fruits and other goods they sell. What I really like was their effort to design their commodities in a presentable way:
I don’t really know, how much time she spent with balancing and ordering all the strawberries, but I really respect her efforts to let it look good. If I remember all the plastic packages we use in Europe to have the right quantity and keep them durable, I will always prefer this version.
¿Jugo especial? Why special?
Nonetheless, every of my visits at this market proceeded chronologically the same. I entered the market and before I started to buy randomly all sorts of nice things, I stopped at the little store next to the entry to obtain a freshly pressed juice. Here you could have the healthiest mixes of all sorts of exotic and generic fruits. I usually preferred the ones with peach and mandarins/oranges.
Most of the prejudices and concerns of these types of markets in South American countries are, that the level of hygiene is lower than the standards in European and Western countries and that it is easier to pick up some bacteria due to dirty conditions. I must say, that this prejudice is unjustified, because I never saw a higher standard level of hygiene from everyone else who was serving me a juice before:
But one mixed juice on their menu was simply called “Jugo especial” (special juice) without any further explication. Already this made me curious, because you want to find out, what is so special about this juice, respectively which ingredients make this juice special. It was more expensive than all other juices and that raised as well my attention. That’s why I ordered one “Jugo Especial”.
What really makes this juice a special juice
It was not the fruits like papaya, strawberry and banana. My curiosity got satisfied when I observed the lady preparing my special juice. She put a lot of unusual things into the blender, that most people would rather use to prepare pastries. Next to a torrent of cow milk and an egg (!), she filled in syrup of black carob tree, natural bee honey and vanilla extract. A shot of black beer (!!) was added to round it all up and admix even more calories. Just to be sure, that I won’t starve after drinking.
From the former expectation of a pure juice, I was presented now a milkshake/calorie bomb hybrid. Not only the pure existence made me speechless, it was also the sheer quantity. I paid for one “Jugo Especial” and almost got one litre of an overblown drink. It was of course too much for one glass, that’s why the lady put it into two big glasses. Very generous these Peruvians!
If you want to hear my gourmet judgement, please listen to the following video:
A weird explosion of tastes entered my senses, fruity and sweet and creamy and savoury at the same time. To not insult the barkeeper, I was kind of obliged to finish both glasses. Didn’t want to be rude to leave the store after one drink. But after incorporating both glasses, I had already enough calories for two meals and lurched home with a surfeited feeling in my paunch.