San Pedro Market in Cusco, Peru

How I love visiting markets in foreign countries!  It's like a glimpse into the way the locals shop, eat, cook and really helps you understand their culture's perceptions around food.  Do they use the whole animal or mostly prime cuts?  Do the vendors want you to sample and try things you've never seen or are they more reserved and focused primarily on the business aspect of their stall? Are there fully prepared foods to eat or is it just an ingredient marketplace?  You can learn and understand so much from one quick stroll!

The San Pedro Market in Cusco, Peru is no different...it's like you can feel the pulse of the city as you explore row after row of fresh produce, just squeezed juices, handmade scarves and wares, freshly cut meats, handcrafted cheeses and breads and brimming bowls of just made Peruvian soups. If it wasn't for Christian I would spend a full day at this place, but at the very least let's take a quick tour:

The produce at the San Pedro Market is incredible!  Each row you walk down smells of another sweet, intoxicating smell so finally we gave in and tried Sweet Passion Fruit for the first time, which is shown above.  We immediately fell in love with this new fruit...you can read more in my post all about the sweet passion fruit.

Beyond produce there is an amazing array of freshly baked breads, artisan cheeses and of course the staples of the Peruvian diet; corn, potatoes and coca leaves!  Coca leaves have a similar effect as caffeine but more mild. You can chew them directly (kind of like chewing tobacco) or have them as tea, candies...the options are pretty limitless.  I'm not 100% sure that they actually helped our altitude sickness but if nothing else they certainly had a nice placebo effect on us!