When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch
food / travel

Hooked On Ceviche, The Affordable Sushi Alternative From Peru

Thousands of Peruvian migrants in Argentina have brought their tasty, affordable cooking with them. One dish in particular, the fish-based ceviche, is the "new sushi" of the foodie middle classes.

Preparing ceviche in Buenos Aires
Preparing ceviche in Buenos Aires
Hernán Firpo

BUENOS AIRES — One of the most potent signs of Peru's growing prestige and cultural weight may be the spread of its food, and especially ceviche, the raw fish salad relished by gourmets the world over. Here in Buenos Aires, it may even threaten the rule of an earlier international arrival: sushi.

Author Gabriel Rotbaum, who has a Peruvian wife, writes in De la nostalgia al orgullo(From Nostalgia to Pride) that Peruvian cuisine has become a veritable trend, and it's no accident that ceviche has barged its way onto menus in the trendy Palermo district, where sushi has been a favorite in recent decades.

"I had stopped entering Peruvian eateries because they were always closed with the curtains down," he says. "Then I realized the restaurants were for their own community. There are about 30 of them in a five-block radius of the Abasto area in central Buenos Aires."

He says Peruvians began to migrate to Buenos Aires in earnest in the 1990s, trickling in almost one at a time. "In food terms, we've come halfway," Rotbaum says. "There are about 350,000 Peruvians in Argentina, the vast majority living in the capital and its environs." Migrants, he adds, try to ease their move away from home, "and food is crucial to that."

That could be a problem for sushi, which up to now has occupied the capital's fascinating foreign food seat. It is indeed the "love of the exotic" that has taken Argentine diners to Peruvian food, Rotbaum says, "as happened before with other ethnic foods." The exotic element has market value, he says. "Now you have Peruvian restaurants in Palermo charging between 300 and 500 pesos (roughly 18-20 euros) per head. You can get a Peruvian meal, a traditional dish, for about 70 pesos here in Abasto."

Ceviche? No, mainly chicken. "Chicken is the most traditional Peruvian meal," Rotbaum says. "The thing with food is it's more firmly tied to social class than nationality. Buenos Aires society was fairly hostile to Latin Americans migrating here, even if society has changed since the 1990s." And, he notes, "I don't know if any place in Palermo will serve you a Peruvian-marinated chicken."

But you'll get ceviche for sure. It's increasingly seen on fusion-type menus in Palermo, though like sushi, it remains a starter rather than a main dish.

Buenos Aires is the city with the most Peruvian restaurants outside of Peru: 250. Rotbaum observes that, curiously, Peruvian food is indebted to Japanese cuisine, which arrived in Peru with Japanese migrants at the turn of the 20th century. "The Japanese brought Peruvian cooking the experience of learning to work fish and giving it a new identity," he says. And in Buenos Aires, sushi paved the way. "Who would have eaten raw fish before?" he asks.

What's next in Argentina, I ask Rotbaum. "Mexican food, but not tacos," he says. "Mexican cuisine has 300 national dishes. We just eat the tacos."

So is that the end of sushi? No, he says, "because sushi has now become a take-away dish, and that's crucial for settling in."

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

Settlers, Prisoners, Resistance: How Israeli Occupation Ties Gaza To The West Bank

The fate of the West Bank is inevitably linked to the conflict in Gaza; and indeed Israeli crackdowns and settler expansion and violence in the West Bank is a sign of an explicit strategy.

Settlers, Prisoners, Resistance: How Israeli Occupation Ties Gaza To The West Bank

Israeli soldiers take their positions during a military operation in the Balata refugee camp, West Bank.

Riham Al Maqdama


CAIRO — Since “Operation Al-Aqsa Flood” began on October 7, the question has been asked: What will happen in the West Bank?

A review of Israel’s positions and rhetoric since 1967 has always referred to the Gaza Strip as a “problem,” while the West Bank was the “opportunity,” so that former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s decision to withdraw Israeli settlements from Gaza in 2005 was even referred to as an attempt to invest state resources in Jewish settlement expansion in the West Bank.

For the latest news & views from every corner of the world, Worldcrunch Today is the only truly international newsletter. Sign up here.

This separation between Gaza and the West Bank in the military and political doctrine of the occupation creates major challenges, repercussions of which have intensified over the last three years.

Settlement expansion in the West Bank and the continued restrictions of the occupation there constitute the “land” and Gaza is the “siege” of the challenge Palestinians face. The opposition to the West Bank expansion is inseparable from the resistance in Gaza, including those who are in Israeli prisons, and some who have turned to take up arms through new resistance groups.

“What happened in Gaza is never separated from the West Bank, but is related to it in cause and effect,” said Ahmed Azem, professor of international relations at Qatar University. “The name of the October 7 operation is the Al-Aqsa Flood, referring to what is happening in Jerusalem, which is part of the West Bank.”

Keep reading...Show less

The latest