I spent one week in Iquitos, the gateway to the Peruvian Amazon. Here are the blog posts that provide an overview to the food in the selva plus a guide to visiting the Amazon from Iquitos:
- A Jaunt Through a Jungle Market (Belén Market, Iquitos, Peru)
- How to Eat in Iquitos and the Peruvian Amazon
- Into the Amazon: A Day Trip From Iquitos
Also, be sure to check out my Instagram for bite-size snapshots of my time in Iquitos and other parts of Peru.
Parting Thoughts About Food and Culture in the Selva
The people I met in Peru during my first week knew I was on a quest before I myself knew. They told me that to really understand Peruvian food, I had to visit the jungle and see where exotic ingredients came from. I finally had a chance several months into my journey to understand Peruvian food. I had exactly one week sandwiched between two friends’ visit.
I visited Iquitos wanting to know learn about the fruit and fish. I had no concrete plans and had no idea how I was to learn anything meaningful in a week. Then, luck had it than my Airbnb host was a fruit importer. I hope to publish his story in a future post (not quite done writing about the jungle yet!). I also met Chef Gahry Paz who was invaluable in teaching me about the ingredients (fruit and fish) and the traditional dishes of this region.
Peru is vast in territory and in the scope of its cuisine. The places I visit are separated by many hours on bus (or in the case of Iquitos, multiple days by boat) and feel like their own country-even more so with Iquitos. I recommend visiting Iquitos with an open mind and itinerary. Iquitos is a bit sleepy, and it takes a couple of days for its charm to sink in. Then, it sticks to you like the humidity.