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Tiradito in Lima
Submitted by: comelones
When is ceviche not ceviche? When it is tiradito. The difference is subtle but essential. Some claim tiradito to be “Japanese-style”. This a euphemism. The style is one of restraint: the onions and other accouterments are withheld. There is no cilantro. There is nothing superfluous. Fish, acid, and spice. The combination is somewhat less pungent than its better known relation. The fish stays in focus, but, as with anything in the ceviche family, sushi this is not. You are enjoying the texture of the fish, and the fish in turn becomes a canvas for leche de tigre lightning.
This particular iteration comes from a fairly renowned locale, Canta Rana. It is unassuming to the core, but features some 15 or more varieties of ceviche and tiradito, all permutations of marine life and sauce in varying proportions and portions. My first bite assured me of the kitchen’s deft hand. A good ceviche takes you as close to the edge of acidity as you can come, mouth lit up, neurotransmitters pulsing in response, but it grounds you in each small bite of fish to savor the development of flavor as the acid peak gives way to a mild and rich finish.
Flanking the fish on the plate are 2 essential elements. The first, sweet potato, provides a respite from the acidity. The potato invariably is far sweeter than what you’ve tasted before, unless you’ve been to Lima, the city that houses the International Potato Center. Across the aisle is choclo, large kernels of a particularly starchy steamed corn, present to further moderate the main event, all at the discretion of the eater. In the metallic dishes are marinated white beans and cancha, Peruvian roasted corn, further foils for the fish at center. Peruvian to its core, the tiradito gave me pause to meditate over a dish whose sophistication is matched only by the simplicity of its ingredients. Chalk this one up to more than the sum of its parts.