Part of the reason that I began this writing endeavor was to introduce myself and hopefully you, the reader, to the new and exciting foods. As a nation of immigrants, food is often our first exposure to a country’s culture and history. Peru, much like the rest of South America, shows its influences from Europeans to Chinese immigrants in its dishes.

Inca Kola

I arrived at Maty’s pretty early, and with rain unbeknownst to me heading my way, I was unsurprisingly the only one at the restaurant. I have to imagine that closer to peak lunch rush the restaurant gets much busier. My waiter was an extremely kind young man who warmly welcomed me and took my order.

While not a prepared dish, I had to try what is probably Peru’s second most iconic drink behind the pisco sour, an Inca Kola. Its bright yellow color is the first thing that you’ll notice about Inca Cola. There wasn’t much help on the can to give me an idea of what sort of flavor it is supposed to be, but the closest thing I could compare it to would be a creme soda.

Pork Tamal

I decided to start with a pork tamal as my appetizer. Made with a seasoned masa, the tamal contained tender pieces of pork and a black olive. A side of sliced red onion covered in lime juice and salt and pepper served to brighten the dish, though it certainly could stand on its own. My kind waiter suggested I try their Aji Amarillo sauce which he said paired well with pork. The sauce was a beautiful bright yellow color and had a nice not too spicy pepper flavor close to that of perhaps a bell pepper. The tamal itself was good but I feel that it either had absorbed perhaps too much of the lime juice or just wasn’t steamed as long and as a result wasn’t as dense compared to a Mexican tamale, but this wasn’t something that ruined the dish. Likewise, the olive was unpitted which was a bit of a surprise. Overall it was a dish full of great flavors that I enjoyed. (7.5/10)

Lomo Saltado

Lomo Saltado is a facinating dish. Created in part due to Chinese immigrants into Peru, you are served a stir fry of steak with onions, tomato, and yellow peppers along with a side of rice and french fries. I think in any other situation if you were to have a plate of rice and add a side of french fries, served with ketchup no less, you would probably get some stares. But somehow it just works for this dish. Saltado is a unique word in Peru meaning stir fry; along with the side of white rice, you can see the Chinese, or Chifa in Peru, influence on this meal.

While the dish is not very complex, I found myself devouring it bite by bite. The steak and vegetables seemed to be cooked pretty plainly with at least salt and pepper. Traditionally they are also cooked in soy sauce, which I didn’t get in any bite but perhaps was there. I like steak that lets the meat be the flavor, not covered in other herbs or spices. The white rice was helped greatly by absorbing all the juices from the steak and vegetables. The fries, while traditional to the dish, didn’t add much but were still good, especially with bites of steak and onion. (7.5/10)

In no time at all, I had finished my meal. Normally I don’t do desserts but my waiter asked if I’d like to try some of their cake of the day. I happily obliged though I, unfortunately, didn’t take a photo of it. He returned with a large slice of chocolate cake with chocolate icing and a layer of caramel between the cake. It was chilled and while dense was not dry. (7.5/10)

As I finished, who I assume was the owner came out and we chatted a bit about how I had heard about their restaurant and if I had ever had Peruvian food before. While I’ve certainly had plenty of very kind experiences at restaurants, everyone at Maty’s was as wonderful as their food. I can’t wait to come back and try the many different dishes they offer to get an even better idea of what Peruvian food is like. I highly recommend you give Maty’s Authentic Peruvian Cuisine a try.