Gringo-Peruvian Potato Salad

North American potato salad with different potatoes

Potato Salad, but not really Peruvian cuisine.

Here in Peru I’m surrounded by hundreds of varieties of potatoes and a myriad of new ways to prepare them.

Raw, whole native Peruvian potatoes

Not always available, these are wonderful and super tasty!

But with all of the new recipes and exiting Peruvian cuisine, sometimes I just get a hankering for good old North American potato salad. But who can resist these “Papas Nativas Peruanas Andinas” starchy, golden-purple colored spuds, I can’t. The flavor of these is really rich and while I’m not going to give you a recipe (everyone already has their own ways of making potato salad) I will say that I used yogurt instead of mayonnaise and it really was good. It does look a little kooky, but much less so than the last time I experimented with a completely purple variety. I think next time I’ll garnish it a bit more sparsely, as it had quite a gaudy look.


Andean potatoes

These Native Peruvian Andes potatoes are so good!

When boiling these you have to watch them closely as they explode when they are done. Poking them with a fork accelerates this so pull them out of the boiling water at the first sign of splitting. Otherwise 3-4 minutes later you will have potato soup.

sliced potatoes for potato salad

Sliced Papas Nativas Peruanas Andinas

As you can see, I like to keep the skin on, after all there is more nutrition in the skin of a potato than the rest of the potato. And the range of nutrients is much greater with the skin on.

Potatoes at Huancayo's Mercado Mayorista

There must be a thousand farmers selling their potatoes every day in all of Huancayo.

I kid you not, there are more potatoes in this one part of Huancayo’s “Mercado Mayorista” at any one moment than I’ve ever seen in my whole life. Hundreds of varieties and at least a thousand farmers selling with stacks-and-stacks of “papas”. When visiting Huancayo, please go to the food markets, it is a sight to see!

Note: The term Gringo isn’t considered an offensive term (by me and most) in many places such as Peru. When I first started going to my local markets in Peru many people (especially older ladies and many children) would smile and point and say: “Gringo!” or “Hola Gringo!”. I always stop and talk to anyone who does that and I’ve never gotten anything, but warmth, usually accompanied by healthy inquisitiveness. This doesn’t happen much any more to me in Peru, partly because I now speak better Spanish, and because as a good neighbor, I know a great deal of folks in my community now. People are used to seeing me, my funny looks, and know more about me as a real person, not a caricature.

That said, if you are a really ugly person, typically from the USA, talk a certain way (very loud with no regard for learning or attempting another culture’s language) you might get a mean comment about being a Gringo. This has never happened to me, and I’m only reporting what others tell me. Gringo isn’t derogatory, though it can accompany derogatory remarks (on TV), it can’t even be considered offensive like the “N” word truly is or “Queer” is to some people, though I reject that personally. So don’t get your panties in a twist, learn to embrace people, extend the olive branch, and always look at yourself critically first before ever attempting to do so with others.