Where: MachuPicchu Peruvian Cuisine, 4500 Falls of the Neuse Road, #100, Raleigh, NC, 27609
GF Menu: No.
What we ate: Ceviche de Pescado (Fish Ceviche) + Brochetta de Pollo (Chicken Kebabs) + Arroz con Leche (Rice Pudding) from the Lunch Menu. This was more than enough food for two, and we cleaned our plates!
How to order it: Ask the server whether the menu item you want to order contains any wheat or gluten, or ask for Gluten-Free suggestions. Our friendly and knowledgeable server, Jorge Manuel, was well-versed in the dishes’ ingredients. He also double-checked with the award-winning Chef Gloria Orihuela to ensure a happy dining experience. He explained that the kitchen can offer some substitutions.
Be mindful of ordering dishes that appear to be made with corn. While many South American dishes (such as tamales) are traditionally prepared with corn meal, some flour may have been added to the mixture in the Noveau Andean dishes. For this reason, it is best not to assume these items are Gluten-Free, and to check with the server before placing your order.
What it looks like:
Cancha, or roasted corn, was served as an appetizer. Very lightly salted and uniquely crunchy, these kernels whet your appetite for the main course.
The Ceviche de Pescado was appropriately served in a fish-shaped platter. The fresh (never frozen) fish was briefly marinated in a mixture of lime juice and aji amarillo (Peruvian yellow chile peppers) called “Leche de Tigre”, or “Tiger’s Milk”. Our server explained that this citrus juice and pepper combination is sometimes used in Peru as part of the ultimate hangover remedy. What is unique about this pepper is that the hot kick occurs at the back of the tongue and then dissipates very quickly, making it an intense and pleasant culinary experience.
Along with the Leche de Tigre marinade, the fish was garnished with red onions, cilantro, traditional style Peruvian white corn, and a sweet yam.
The mouth feel of this fish was exquisite. It was cool on the tongue, sliced into the perfect bite-sized morsels, and each bite blossomed with the flavor of the lime, the pepper, and finally, the sweet fish. Bonus: Jorge taught us to add some of the cancha kernels to the leftover marinade to soak up the last bits of flavor and experience the pleasant crunch. So refreshing and satisfying, I could eat this dish every day.
The chicken kebabs were grilled to tender perfection and served with onions, green peppers, tomatoes, white rice, and a side of Chimichurri sauce (fresh parsley ground with garlic and spices).
The finale was the Arroz Con Leche, or rice pudding. Served Peruvian style, it was prepared with raisins, cloves, and cinnamon, and tasted simultaneously light and creamy.
Green Note: MachuPicchu is committed to reviving the use of ancient, authentic ingredients. The following is taken from their About Us page on their website:
Peru is blessed with 84 out of the 114 Eco Systems known in the World. This has allowed ancient Peruvian civilizations as well as today’s Peruvians to harvest a great variety of grains, spices, herbs, vegetables, tubers and fruits as well as more than three thousand different varieties of potatoes. This rich harvest along with a variety of cultural and ancient influences culminated to create Peruvian gastronomy, which is traditionally varied and sumptuously delectable.
In January 2004, The Economist magazine stated that Peruvian cuisine can lay claim to “One of the World’s dozen or so great cuisines”. Over the centuries Peru felt the influence of Spain in stews and soups, Arab sweets and desserts, African contributions to Creole cooking, Italian pastas, Japanese preparations of fish and shellfish and Chinese culinary. However, Peruvian cuisine continues to incorporate new influences and also revives old ones. This infusion has given birth to the Noveau Andean Cuisine, dubbed the New Peruvian Cuisine, which uses ancient ingredients that date back to the Incas and presents them in a contemporary fashion; You must try ours to be transported to one of America’s oldest and most advanced civilizations.