Peru: Arequipa – San Camillo Market

I’m still trying to get back into the swing of things since arriving home. I have lots of stories to tell and way too many photos to edit (editing photos makes me want to cry. wah wah guitar.)

I’ll start with this post on Arequipa: Peru’s second largest city, with a population of over 800,000 (incidentally, Lima is Peru’s biggest city with 9 million people – big difference, hey?). Arequipa is quite pretty – it’s located in the Andes mountains and is overlooked by three volcanoes – and it has many colonial-era Spanish buildings that are built from a white volcanic rock.

While there, we did one of my favourite things – visit a market. Yay!

San Camillo is Arequipa’s oldest market and is a few blocks from the main square of the city. It was cleaner than some of the markets I’ve been to in Melbourne… let’s have a wander through.

There was lots of vegetables for sale and lots and lots of different potatoes. Peru has a crazy amount of potato varieties available.

In addition to potatoes, Peru also has tons of different kinds of corn. You can see black corn at the top of this picture.

Enough garlic to ward off vampires.

All the different sections of the market were labelled. Sheep to the left and chicken to the right.

We didn’t spend that much time in the meat aisles since we couldn’t buy anything (nowhere to cook it).

It was still interesting though – note the lack of refrigeration.

And then we came across some random animal heads. As you do.

In addition to animal heads, you could also buy dried llama fetuses. I believe they are used in religious ceremonies.

More to my liking – the fruit section.

Lots of different fruit – yay!

I ended up buying some fruit to try. Here we have – from the left, going clockwise – little bananas, lucuma, golden berries, passionfruit, aguaje (the snake looking fruit), and noni.

Here’s a interior shot of the passionfruit – it had really large seeds and was really tart.

The noni smelt awful – very strong and pungent – like very sharp blue cheese.

It didn’t taste any better than it smelt. It was quite tart and astringent. I couldn’t stomach it and had to throw it out! Seriously, it smelt SO BAD.

The lucuma was much better than the noni. It’s a fruit that’s native to the Andean valleys of Peru and it has an interesting texture – dryish, kind of like roast pumpkin. It was mildly sweet and tasted like pumpkin crossed with sweet potato.

I didn’t take a separate photo of the golden berries which come covered in a papery wrapping. They were tart and sweet. Definitely worth trying. And the aguaje? I carted it around for a week and unfortunately it went moldy. Boo.