Writer’s update: Peru Mix has opened its second location at Calle 38 # 75 – 6 | 2nd Parque Laureles
Don’t let the “fast food” portion of the title fool you. This isn’t anything like Burger King or McDonald’s, not even close. They serve quality stuff at Peru Mix.
They have sandwiches, yes, including a chicharrón sandwich, one of my favorite sandwiches ever. But they also have traditional Peruvian dishes as well as some creative entrees thanks to Lima-born owner Juan, who wanted his restaurant to stand out among the others in the city riding a trend by building their menus with dishes from Peru.
You’ll find ceviche and lomo saltado at Peru Mix, like you will at any of the other Peruvian places in Medellín, only the prices are much better here: nothing costs more than 21,900 pesos (about $12.25).
You’ll also find unique entrees, such as tiradito a pescado a la crema de rocoto, or Peruvian sashimi, and aji de gallina estilo Peru Mix, chicken with a yellow garlic sauce Peru Mix style.
“We didn’t want to just have a menu that was mostly seafood,” he said. “We wanted to offer some different things.”
To further distance himself from being like the competition, Juan decided to add some comida rápida (fast food) to his menu while adding a touch of paisa culture to the options.
From what I’ve seen, the only paisas who don’t like chicharrón are vegetarians so that sandwich is naturally very popular. He has sandwiches that feature the aji de gallina and lomo saltado as well.
And one of the best parts: he’s open until 2 a.m. on the weekends, and the location, about a block from Parque Lleras, is good for business.
“We’ve got a lot of people stumbling in here looking for a chicharrón sandwich on Fridays and Saturdays,” he said.
By the beginning of March, the stumblers in Laureles will have the same opportunity. His second location will be at Avenida Nutibara, close enough to the La 70 and Calle 33 nightlife districts to attract a fair share of customers. A third location is being planned at another Poblado spot along the Superior.
Perhaps the best part about Peru Mix is the casual atmosphere in a tiny setting that combines with the quality of the food to make me feel like I’m at home. It’s not a big restaurant with dim lighting and suit-and-tie attire — well, except maybe for me when I go there straight from my other job, to satisfy a craving.
Instead, I feel just like I did back in Hawaii, when a day at the beach, often at the expense of my high school chemistry class, included a stop to a popular plate lunch place for Hawaiian specialties, such as lau lau or a loco moco, before finally heading back to school to ask my teacher what I missed that day, as she told me she didn’t want to know where I was, as if the surf shorts and damp shirt didn’t give it away.
I went to one of the fancier Peruvian places for my birthday last year and wrote that I thought I had found my favorite restaurant in the city, seeing that Peruvian food is probably my first preference, after Hawaiian food.
Let me amend that: after eating at Peru Mix, now I have found my favorite restaurant in Medellín.