A Brief Report from Mishtu Mikuna

estadio municipal tarapoto

Tarapoto’s municipal stadium. The grass looks great, the goal is missing a few bits, and the commentary box looks abandoned since 1966. But it’s a sweet stadium (photo © Tony Dunnell)

The Mishtu Mikuna gastronomic fair took place yesterday, August 17, at Tarapoto’s Municipal Stadium. The event was part of the Tarapoto Está de Moda schedule, all of which was in celebration of the city’s 232nd anniversary (happy birthday Tarapoto!).

I arrived at about 2 pm in sun that was frankly frightening in its intensity, my bald head throbbing at the thought of yet another roasting. Thankfully, a few clouds managed to get things under control, while a few beers soon had me ready to eat.

The fair included a fine array of food stands representing some of the brightest and best of Tarapoto cuisine. There was ceviche, there was cecina, there was chicken, there were juanes and raspadillas, and there was an awful lot of pork.

Awful, in this case, being a good thing, as the pork in this part of Peru is nothing short of magical.

tarapoto pork

So this pork began life looking way too much like a freshly squashed pig (sorry vegetarians, that’s a horrible image, I know)….. (photo © Tony Dunnell)

more tarapoto pork

…..but two hours later, it was looking pretty damn tasty. These guys don’t have a restaurant, they just do festivals and events (photo © Tony Dunnell)

Being of a gluttonous nature, I chose to eat at two places that I was already a big fan of — both have restaurants in Tarapoto that I highly recommend.

Firstly, the excellent Primer Puerto. I’ll be writing more about the restaurant soon, but for now I’ll be bold and say that this is perhaps the best place for ceviche in Tarapoto. And their ceviche mixto at the gastronomic fair was just about perfect, while their little deep-fried fish empanadas were like golden pockets of goodness.

primero puerto

The good people at the Primer Puerto stand were super-friendly, very attentive and served us an awesome ceviche mixto. And they gave us some complimentary fish empanadas, which were also fantastic…. (photo © Tony Dunnell)

primer puerto ceviche

Ah, sweet healthy goodness, thy name be ceviche. Great stuff from Primer Puerto (photo © Tony Dunnell)

After round one of eating, we took a stroll around the stalls, seeing everything from fairground games to giant inflatable gas bottles to places selling coffee and industrial coffee machines (see Quilpa Tostaduría – Café — I haven’t been there yet, but it sounds good).

fairground at mishtu mikuna

Floor it kid, the little girl is catching up…. (photo © Tony Dunnell)

For round two of eating, I had to head over to one of my all-time favourites in Tarapoto, Caja Criolla (again, I’ll be writing more about this restaurant soon). Chunks of pork straight out of the caja china, an awesome cooking apparatus that seems made for getting the best out of pigs. I was so excited about eating it, I forgot to take any photos. Sorry.

Royally stuffed, I then went to watch Danny Shain further the cause of country music in Peru. And the man did a fine job — you can read more about that right here.

All-in-all, a very enjoyable event. More next year, please.

tarapoto anniversary

Happy 232nd anniversary, Tarapoto! (photo © Tony Dunnell)