Peruvian vs American Breakfast
Fried pork or pancakes for breakfast?
One of Mariela's and my ongoing debates is what exactly constitutes breakfast. For Mariela, breakfast is something savory and a little greasy. While I'm normally a savory breakfast kind of person, I've been craving pancakes, and what many Americans consider breakfast (pancakes, waffles, etc) feels like dessert to Peruvians. I don't normally eat breakfast so this debate usually comes up when I want to eat something for lunch that she considers to be breakfast.
The debate is not likely to be settled any time soon so we've been compromising and trying a little of both. Here's a rundown of some of our favorite breakfast places in Lima:
Pan con chicharrón, a classic Peruvian Breakfast
What comprises a traditional Peruvian breakfast varies from region to region, but Pan con chicharron is a classic throughout Peru. On Sunday mornings, we can see the Rappis and other delivery people line up in front of chicharronerias, restaurants specializing in pan con chicharron. Most cities in Peru will have a whole street specializing in this classic.
Pan con chicharron is a sandwich consisting of pork that has been braised and then fried, slices of camote or sweet potato, and salsa criolla (slices of red onions marinated in limes) between two slices of bread. It's a simple but classic combination-the sweetness of the camote and the acidity of the salsa criolla are a perfect match for the fried pork.
I love trying the street and upscale versions of Peruvian classics (and everything in between). The cheap and more refined versions of dishes each have their own merits.
There is often at least one chicharroneria in a typical market, making it a good breakfast stop before shopping for groceries. The one in Lince, our neighborhood, was especially good and cheap.
Judging based on Sunday crowd size, Pavos y Chicharrones Santa Mónica is the neighborhood favorite. There are two floors plus a line snaking out of the door on Sundays. Many families order the chicharrón by the kilogram and bread to share. We split one sandwich and a tamal, a classic accompaniment. The juices were surprisingly fresh and a good drink of choice.
Just across the street, there's a local chain, El Chinito, which is another good place for Pan con Chiccharón. It's where we go when I am able to convince Mariela to have breakfast for lunch or dinner. They serve Chiccharón and other classic sandwiches all day. The Lince location is convenient for us, but the Miraflores location is a bit better.
Porcus is one of the restaurants in Lima that offer an elevated version of Pan con chicharrón. Some of the cheaper versions will have a couple of grisly pieces, but the pork belly at Porcus was a choice cut and the pork was very tender. Porcus features other pork dishes cooked in a variety of styles including Chinese (Cha Siu and Siu Mai) and Amazonian preparations.
We ordered a tamal, a classic breakfast accompaniment in Peru. On the weekdays it’s not uncommon to just have a tamal with coffee for breakfast.
Many American breakfast classics have made their way to cafe and restaurant menus throughout Lima, but they've been a bit hit or miss.
As I mentioned above, I was craving pancakes, pancakes topped with fruit to be specific. However, to Mariela, something sweet like pancakes or waffles is dessert and not breakfast. You sometimes see pancakes or waffles on dessert menu at international restaurants in Peru.
We eventually did find pancakes, but they were a bit disappointing, not exactly the fluffy, fruit-laden pancakes that I was imagining. I decided that perhaps it would be best to try making them at home one day.
Aside from the random pancake craving, I enjoy a good eggs Benedict. I’ve seen it on the menu at several cafes, but we tried ordering it several times but oftentimes the restaurant doesn’t actually have it. We finally struck gold at Colonia, a cafe in Barranco.
It was Mariela’s first egg benedict, and it was one of the best versions I’ve had. This was the kind of American breakfast that she could get behind.
Places Mentioned in this Post
Pan con Chicharrón
Porcus (Calle Comandante Juan G. Moore 176, Miraflores)
El Chinito (Multiple locations. My favorite one is at Calle Grimaldo del Solar 113)
Pavos y Chicharrones Santa Mónica (Av. Petit Thouars 2458, Lince)
You can find the market version of throughout Peru. The one specifically mentioned was at Mercado Lobaton (Av. Petit Thouars 2249, Lince)
Colonia (Prolongación, Av. San Martín 131, Barranco) serves breakfast all day and features many American favorites including eggs benedict, pancakes, and French toast. They also have sandwiches and a separate menu with traditional Peruvian food.
Places on our list to try
Lurin near the outskirts of Lima has a famous street with a number of chicharrones.
Franklin (Av. Alvarez Calderón 198, San Isidro), a relatively new American restaurant (named after FDR) that’s been getting a lot of buzz. They serve breakfast classics 9 am-1 pm.
The legendary Astrid Y Gaston (Av. Paz Soldan 290, San Isidro) recently started serving Sunday brunch which is a tasting menu that includes 7 different courses. The menu changes, but it’s an international affair featuring everything from burgers to empanadas to udon.
Next up-we’ll leave Lima and explore Arequipa, a city with volcanic view and a rich culinary tradition. Since there’s much to cover in Arequipa, I’ll be publishing a series of posts, each focusing on a theme.