Category Archives: Easter Island

If only I have cerviche once a week

I have an obsession with food, always.  This is part of the essential part of my travels and it is a deal breaker for anyone who wants to travel with me. I eat a lot, sometimes a lot of weird stuff, and often the restaurant or food stall is hidden on some back alley street. I hate going to typical tourist restaurants and seek out the cheap and characterful places. It also helps to have an iron stomach, especially if you are game for raw stuff.

Part of the popular dishes in South America is cerviche. Raw seafood cooked in lime juice and other sauces. I had it in Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Easter Island, Peru.

The best cerviche I ever had was in the most unlikely place that is a little far away from the coast.  That was in Nazca, Peru, famous for the Nazca lines. It was cheap and so good for only us$5 for a complete meal that included a soup, the cerviche, main fish dish, a drink.

Every country prepares their cerviche a little differently.

Bolivia serve mostly fish cerviche with fried toasted corn and lotsa lime and chilli. Ecuador loves their cerviche with conche and prawns served with panacones (fried banana chips) and pop corn. Chile has their sea urchin cerviche which is delicious but expensive, serve plain with lime and onion. Easter island has mainly tuna cerviche, serve plainly like the Chileano version with lotsa lime juice. Peru has one of the best cerviches, mainly fish with some spices and mint.

 

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Crazy eats of South America Part 1

In Mendoza, Argentina the famous Malbec wine region : The Malbec grape varietal thrives and where the best Argentina wine come from, also famous for its Dulce de Leche, a condensed caramelised milk product popular with Argentinians

Half spoonful of  Dulce de Leche, fill the other half with Malbec wine, gulp it down.
Chile has its terramoto cocktail drink, red wine, pisco (grape liquer), pineapple icecream. This is Mendoza’s version of very bad drink ideas that taste quite disgustingly weird.

Alfajores : Very typical biscuits of South America, you see versions of it everywhere, especially in Chile and Argentina. This Argentinian version consist of snow dusted sugar on 2 biscuits with Dulce de Leche filling (caramelised condensed milk) . Quite addictive and probably will kill your liver and kidney from all those sugar! You easily find them in shops, cafes and on the streets.

Cerviche in Easter island. Raw fish cooked in lemon juice along with raw local shrimp from the surrounding sea. Served with steamed banana bread (right) that is more banana than bread, local Tuna call Kana Kana (middle), fried plantains (left) with salad in the background.
One of the best cerviche tasted so far since coming to South America but deadly if you are not into raw fish and freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Mendocino (Mendoza, Argentina) version of Paella :

Rice cooked purely in white wine and a bit of broth, but really mostly cook in wine.  Add  tomatos and fresh tomato, onions, salted anchovies, garlic. The octopus is cooked in red wine with carmelised onions. Local Mussles added at the end, Olives and Half boiled egg place on top along with Biondilo and Mendocino hard feta cheese. Cooking preparation & time s about 1 hour.

Eating out in Argentina is expensive and one can’t afford to eat out for all main meals daily especially when it cost 50-80pesos (us$13- us$20) for quite a sub standard dish. That’s just a dish not a meal. However Mendoza is a great place for beautiful vegetables, sea food, meats produce and cooking is fun if you have a great kitchen.

Empanadas are like the South America version of curry puff, pastry stuffed with meats, or cheese, or chicken. There is the fried and baked version. The pasteleria everywhere seems to make awful pre-prepared empanadas, but there are dedicated shops that make fresh versions when you order them. The fillings and the pastry matters a lot. The trouble is it is more of a hit and miss affair when choosing a good empanada shop. The standard varies and often the popular shops serve up quite crappy versions even if there are tons of folks buying it. The  freshly made fried empanadas taste better than the oven baked ones of course. This is what most Chileans and Argentinans have as cheap fast food. A typical cheap dinner will consist of at least 6 pieces.

Salted pig in Argentina, this is more traditional and often prepared only for the weekends. The whole pig with skin and hooves is cured in salt. It seems more of a spanish dish where you make a stew out of it.  The taste apparently is better than fresh pork. Preparation takes more than 1 day to soak the pig in water to rid of the salt then boiled and stewed with root vegetables or eaten just like so. I  have no clue what this taste like as I don’t eat red meats.

Cerviche in Easter Island

Cerviche is raw fish cooked with lime juice. A popular dish in South America. Here in the island of Easter (isle of Pascua), or Easter island, right in the middle of the pacific ocean, you get fresh fish. The local tuna call Kahi Kahi is very popular and it is either pan fried or serve up raw as cerviche.

Food is pretty pricey here on the island, everything has to be flown from Chile. This dish of quite yummy cerviche cost us$22, served with steam banana cake (right) camote (left). This is the version of street food served from an aluminum shed.

Moai Statues of Easter Island, Chile

Apu Akivi Moai

One of the mysteries in the world, Easter Island is the most isolated inhabited island in the world. The natives name this island is the navel of the world, rightly so, for it is in the middle of the pacific ocean. It has a few names, the Polynesians call it Rapa Nui, the Chileans named it Isle of Pascua, and the rest of the world simply call it Easter Island after it was discovered on Easter Sunday.

It has always been my dream to visit this island and to view the Moai statues. The people who created these great statues disappeared leaving only a few inhabitants on the island.

While I was on the Island, I witnessed a protest by the Rapa Nui people for their independence from the Chilean government. Being Polynesians,  have closer ties with the rest of Polynesia than the governing Chileans. With only 3000 Rapa Nui and 2000 Chileans on the island, it seem to be quite a challenge to gain independence. Nevertheless, I wish them luck and may they have the success they strive for since 1960s.

Reading their history is both fascinating and tragic. The Rapa Nui people suffered from environmental devastation from over fanatical construction of Moai Statues, captured as slaves by the Spanish, their island were leased to the British as a sheep station. Generations of Rapa Nui people were confined to the town of Hanga Roa and not allowed to venture out to the rest of the island, making them prisoners of their own land.

This is a beautiful island with very friendly and honest people. To visit Easter Island, I would recommend at least a min. 5 full days to visit the various Moai Statues as well as the various hikes around the volcanos and other landscapes.  This is also the place for scuba diving for its pristine waters. Easter island is deceivingly small, the roads are bumpy and takes quite some time to venture out to the various sites.

Circle of stones in Apu Pokura where ceremonies are held. Moai structures push over by the Rapa Nui locals during the era of toppling.

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Rapa Nui protest in Easter island

While I was on the Island, I witnessed a protest by the Rapa Nui people for their independence from the Chilean government. Being Polynesians,  they have closer ties with the rest of Polynesia than the governing Chileans. With only 3000 Rapa Nui and 2000 Chileans on the island, it seem to be quite a challenge to gain independence.

Reading their history is both fascinating and tragic. The Rapa Nui people suffered environmental devastation from over fanatical construction of Moai Statues, captured as slaves by the Spanish, their island annexed by the aggressive Chileans in the late 1800s, after their island were leased to the British as a sheep station. Generations of Rapa Nui people were confined to the town of Hanga Roa and not allowed to venture out to the rest of the island, making them prisoners of their own land until the late 1966s.

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