Gabriel Morris in India

Gabriel Morris in India
A mysterious cave in south India.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Awkward Travel Stories: Ordering Food in a Foreign Language

I've been in Peru only three days and don't know the dishes hardly at all. So I've basically been ordering things randomly (recognizing a few words like "pollo" for chicken and "bistek" for steak) and so far, so good.

So I tried this new restaurant where I am in Arequipa (in the Andes at about 6,000 feet, ringed by volcanoes), partly because the guy enthusiastically cajoled me in. There was a special on the menu for 5 Peruvian sols (as in sol, for the sun). That's about $1.50.

First I asked if he had chicha, which is the national drink of Peru and is made from purple corn plus other ingredients including apples and cinnamon. My best explanation of what it tastes like is a combination of cranberry juice, apple cider and peach juice all mixed together. It's weird but delicious. He did have it, so I asked for a glass.

Then I pointed at the special, which said pollo. He asked me a few questions about it, and I had no idea what he said (time to improve my Spanish!), so I just agreed to everything.

I sipped on the chicha drink and then he brought out the dish, which looked awesome. It was a plate of rice, steamed veggies and a chicken drumstick. I devoured it, but was left just a little hungry. So I pointed at the drumstick and asked for one more. A few minutes later, he brings out another full plate of food.

I tried to explain at first that I only wanted the chicken, but quickly realized that wasn't going to work. Besides it was only another $1.50. But in the process of reaching to grab the other plate of food, I knocked over my chicha drink (he'd brought me a second one) and spilled it all over the table and the floor. So he brought me a third one, and cleaned up the mess for me.

In the end, the bill came to a whopping $7. Which definitely isn't so bad. I plan to give the restaurant another try, hopefully a little smoother the next time.


  1. Nice sharing. I am thinking of going there myself in near future.. I'll relate to you and your (general) story quite a lot. I've gone trough similar things and I am seeking persons with similar experiences and outlook in life. If you're interested in coming to Sweden I can guide you here. ( Thanks!

  2. Ah nice - this story is not there in the vlogs I guess.