DIG Appetit

BY: VIVIAN GATICA

The Restaurant

Peruvian cuisine often goes under the radar in the United States, but recently it has begun to pop up in more and more restaurants in Southern California. El Rocoto is a small authentic Peruvian restaurant in Cerritos. It serves, without a doubt, the best Peruvian food I have tasted.

As far as appetizers go, there are not very many to choose from, but what they do have is pretty good. For seafood lovers, there is a variety of ceviches. All ceviches come with a side of traditional Peruvian corn and yuca (yam). My personal favorite is the ceviche mixto, which consists of shrimp, scallops, fish, and calamari drenched in lemon juice with a dash of cilantro and a variety of spices. The seafood is fresh, and the dish is seasoned to perfection. There are also appetizers for those who do not like seafood like fried plantains and fried yuca.

There is a wide range of entrees to choose from. My personal favorite is lomo saltado, which is a stir-fry of beef, french fries, tomatoes, and onion with rice on the side. The beef is well cooked and tender and all the flavors of the ingredients blend well together, and create a very flavorful and authentic Peruvian dish. It is simple, yet satisfying for the taste buds.

There are many great desserts served at El Rocoto. I recently tried this chocolate cake and was pleasantly surprised by the Peruvian lucuma fruit filling. The cake was rich, the filling added a nice sweet flavor, and it was delicious. There is also a great dessert called leche asada, which is like a custard drizzled with caramel. The simplest dessert is also the most flavorful and authentic one and it is the alfajor. It is a shortbread cookie with a dulce de leche filling coated in powdered sugar.

This restaurant is decorated in Peruvian art, and is perfect at portraying the culture to people who do not know much about Peru. The servers are very friendly, and if you need help figuring out the menu, they are there to assist you. I have been to Peru, and the food that they serve at El Rocoto is a great replica of the food I was able to try during my trip. I encourage you to try something new, and eat at this restaurant to get a real taste into Peruvian cuisine.