The ruins of Pachacamac are a popular day trip for many tourists in the city. Located about 40 minutes south of Lima, Peru, on the Pan-American South Highway, it has plenty to offer for those interested in the ancient history of Peru’s coast. However, there is a little known secret just around the corner – the desert town of Lurin. In Lurin, you can find fresh air, food and fun for the whole family.
Lurin, Peru is located far enough from Lima that the air is free of the smog and pollution that can be so annoying in the city. This small rural pueblo is famous for its chicharron restaurants, called chicharronerias. The main street through Lurin is lined with little restaurants, with employees standing at the side of the road offering free samples to passers-by. If you stop your car long enough, they’ll come out to the road and try to entice you to stop by handing samples in through your open window. You can have a delicious meal at any of these restaurants, but the real draw is a little further out at Lurin’s chicharronerias campestres, or camp-style chicharron restaurants. They consist of large fields set with dozens of picnic tables and they cook the food in an open camp house. It’s a very family friendly place with lots of room for kids to run around in the fresh air.
Of course, the reason for visiting any of these restaurants is the food. The biggest draw, and the food that makes Lurin famous, is chicharron – a name used to describe fried pork. It’s made using pieces of pork, usually with the fat and rind still attached, which is then fried in lard until the outer rind is golden and crispy. The traditional serving of chicharron includes thinly sliced and deep-fried yams and a side order of spicy ‘zarsa’ – an red onion relish made with Peruvian aji (chili pepper) and lemon juice. If fried pork isn’t to your taste, Lurin’s restaurants also serve a variety of traditional Peruvian criollo dishes including rice with chicken or duck, cuy chactado (fried guinea pig), various soups and stews, and seafood.
Lurin’s chicharronerias campestres also provide entertainment for the whole family. Typically, you can find live traditional music being performed on the weekends, with space for dancing if you like. Horse or pony rides are usually available for the kids, and of course, there’s a small field for playing futbol (soccer to North Americans). Best of all? A complete meal for a family of four can be had for about $20 USD. If you’re visiting Lima and looking for family activities, don’t forget to spend a day visiting the ruins at Pachacamac and then going a few minutes further south to the chicharron restaurants of Lurin.