Canberrans are well known for carrying on like, well, pork chops when it comes to…
Peruvian food has been THE latest food ‘thing’ in the US for a year or so now, but it’s only just starting to gain traction in Australia. And there’s a good reason for its popularity – it’s absolutely bloody delicious. Mr PAPA Peruvian Street Food has become a familiar site at events around town, with crowds beating a path to its charming stall to get a taste of Peru.
Mr. PAPA’s founder, Carlos Ramirez-Roldan, says they offer ‘Criolla’ food – cuisine commonly found in Peruvian markets and homes, which is the result of the blend of ancient Incan culture (with its maize, Quinoa, potatoes and spices), with other introduced cultures: the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadors and different migrants, such as Chinese, European, Indian and Japanese peoples.
“My inspirations are my childhood – playing and eating on the streets and neighbourhood, my family, and the recipes shared with them,” says Carlos.
“I remember myself when I was six years old, with mum teaching me how to cook meals for my entire family. Then, when I was 12 years old, I was responsible for purchasing fruit and veggies and would wake at 4am to go with other family members to the producers market in order to get ready for banquets requested. Every meal I cooked for my family was like a special ‘function’.
Carlos says his motivation comes from family roots; his grandfather started work as a waiter in Peru in 1935, working his way up the ranks to own one of the biggest catering companies in the country.
“Passion for service, cooking and love is something that all my family have in the blood,” he says. “As my mum and grandmother used to tell me, there is no better way to express love than through food.”
From Carlos’ point of view, the best way to understand the culture of a country is through its food. For that reason, they try to create a real ‘street food’ experience as you may find it in Peru’s food carts – combining the best Peruvian ingredients with great local Australian produce.
So what sort of food might you expect to find on Mr Papa’s menu? Perhaps Chanchito, Mr. PAPA’s Peruvian Pork Belly Sandwich , served in a Peruvian -inspired bread made by local bakers, Criolla salsa , sweet potatoes and ‘Mum’s chilli cream recipe’; Pan Con Asado, roast beef, patiently braised for more than 20 hours with aji colorado and the best Peruvian spices, served on an artisan ciabatta roll , lettuce , criolla sauce and a bit of avocado; PAPA (Peruvian stuffed potatoes), Empanadas (shortcrust pastry stuffed with beef and capsicum relish); oh-my-Lord-so-yummy Chocotejas (Peruvian chocolate stuffed with Pecans and Dulce de leche); Alfajores (buttery crisp Peruvian shortbread cookies filled with caramel); Peruvian Street Tea, based on peaches, linseed, quinche and Peruvian herbs; and Cacaousuyo Chocolate.
If you’ve never taste Peruvian food, get yourself to The Forage at New Acton on Saturday 5 July – it’s like nothing else you’ve tasted!