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Ceviche 101: History and Regional Variations

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Ceviche is a Staple in South American Cuisine. Here’s the History Behind It.

Anyone in love with South American cuisine has had their share of Ceviche. In some regions it’s referred to as cebiche, rather than ceviche, but they’re both referring to the same appetizer. However you choose to spell it, this is an appetizer that will leave you craving more; especially at our Latin American Restaurant in Mountain View.

How to Make Ceviche

This seafood dish uses fish which should be cured in an acid-based marinade. Lime or lemon is the most common acid base. But if you aren’t big fans of lemon or lime, you can also go with grapefruit or orange!

The seafood or fish isn’t exactly cooked like it would be for other dishes. Both heat and citric acid are agents of a chemical process called denaturation. This gives the fish an opaque color and stiffer texture than it would be completely raw.

How you prepare this delicacy varies with the recipe in question. It’s best to let the fish marinade for a good period of time before serving. Some will toss it in the marinade and serve it right away. If you let the fish marinate first, be sure to drain it before adding the rest of your ingredients. There is no draining needed if you serve it immediately after tossing the fish in marinade. Whether you serve it room temperature or chilled is up to you; both are enjoyed but the latter is more popular.

The History of Ceviche

One would ask: where and how did Ceviche become a Latin American food? The history around Ceviche is a debatable issue. While some believe it is originally Peruvian cuisine, others argue that it has an Arabian descent. In its original form, fermented vegetable and fruit juices were used. It was only after the introduction of citrus fruits by colonialists from Spain that lime and lemon juices were used.

What Seafood Is Used In Ceviche?

There is no written rule on what seafood should and should not be used. It depends on what is locally abundant. Here is some of the common seafood in Ceviche:

  • Salmon
  • Mahi Mahi
  • Tilapia
  • Tuna
  • Shark
  • Octopus
  • Corvina
  • Shrimp
  • Red snapper
  • Sole

Regional Variations

There is a rich variety of Ceviche and until you taste it all, you should not rule anything out. For your sampling, these are the known variations:

  • Peru: This arguably the original home of Ceviche. They even celebrate National Ceviche Day every 8th day of June. Peruvian ceviche is typically served with boiled or steamed sweet potatoes and corn.
  • Ecuador: Shrimp is the dominant seafood, made with tomato base, lime juice and salt.
  • Mexico: Tilapia and shrimp are most commonly used in Mexican ceviche, served wet or dry atop tostadas.
  • Panama: Expect more of shrimp, Corvina and squid-based ceviches. Celery, onions and hot peppers are included.
  • Costa Rica: White Sea Bass and Corvina are the main serve. Peppers, lime juice, vinegar and parsley are also added in.
  • Bahamas: Ceviche is a speciality in the Bahamas. It is served with a variety of peppers, tomatoes and conch.
  • South Florida: Key West’s pink shrimp is the way to go with Ceviche.

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Ceviche Served at The Voya Restaurant

Served with homemade plantain, yucca, and taro chips. Make it a trio and select any three below!

Cabo Ceviche – Mahi Mahi, lime juice, red onion, cilantro, and a mango-habanero puree.
Peruvian Ceviche – Red snapper, lime juice, pico de gallo, and cucumber.
Ahuachile Ceviche – Prawns, limen, pico de gallo, avocado, and cucumber.
Octopus Ceviche – Avocado, cucumber, and pico de gallo in a seafood broth.

Top Dishes in South American Cuisine

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When it comes to great tasting cuisine, South America offers some of the best. When it comes to fine dining in Mountain View, there is simply no better place to experience the flavors of South America than at The Voya Restaurant. Our South American cuisine is prepared using a unique combination of fresh ingredients and spices, and served with South American staple sides like pico de gallo, cilantro rice, fresh seasonal vegetables and bell or poblano peppers. Continue reading

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