Peruvian Food Comes to InterPacific Business Park, Calgary, Canada
Have you been hankering for a good lomo saltado? Or some anticuchos washed down with a chicha morada? How about just a good-old plate of papa a la Huancaina? If you have, there’s a new Peruvian restaurant called Inti at 3132 26 St. N.E. (587-352-5599) in the InterPacific Business Park.
And if the above dishes are unfamiliar to you, it may be time to try Peruvian food, one of the hottest cuisines in the North American restaurant scene right now. Since the closing of the short-lived El Inca a number of years ago, we haven’t seen anything in the way of Peruvian restaurants around Calgary. Why? There just aren’t many Peruvian chefs and restaurateurs in our city.
But Hans and Angela Puccinelli intend to solve that problem with their new place, Inti. Hans hails from Lima, where he learned the culinary trade, and he has held executive chef positions in numerous hotels and restaurants across Canada. But he’s always wanted his own Peruvian place, and since Angela is a Calgary gal, they decided to open it here.
Inti, named after the Incan sun god, is a small, unprepossessing place in a mall filled with other small, unprepossessing places such as Clay Oven and Fat Kee. The Puccinellis have painted their restaurant a sunny yellow with a mural of Inti on one wall. Through the opening into the kitchen you can see a big chicken rotisserie and chickens coated in a herb mix that is distinctly Peruvian (the herbs are only grown above 3,000 metres and only in Peru).
As for the other dishes I mentioned above, the lomo saltado is a dish of marinated, stir-fried beef with onions, tomatoes and aji amarillo, a chili that also comes from Peru. Anticuchos are pieces of beef heart cooked on skewers, chicha morada is a non-alcoholic drink made from blue corn, and the papa a la Huancaina is a potato dish where cooked, cooled potatoes are coated in a thick, creamy sauce made with aji amarillo and fresh cheese.
Potatoes show up in many Peruvian dishes. Peru is the homeland of the potato, after all. So you’ll find them fried, French fried and steamed at Inti. And for those looking for a little kick, Inti serves Pisco, the Peruvian brandy. They even soak raisins in it for their bread pudding. Now that’s a treat.
John Gilchrist reviews restaurants for CBC Radio’s Calgary EyeOpener. His Cheap Eats 2 restaurant guide is now available as an iPhone and iPad app. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 403-235-7532.