24 February 2005
As long ledes go, you could do worse than this one by Jonathan Gold in LA Weekly: "As bouillabaisse is the specialty of Marseilles and paella the most famous dish of Valencia, jalea is the great specialty of Lima’s industrial port suburb Callao, a fry-up reinforced with tubers and oniony salsa that seems to encompass half the creatures of the sea. In Gardena, at the Peruvian restaurant El Rocoto, the jalea is an enormous thing, an acre and a half of fish and shrimp, squid and octopus, scallops and clams, potatoes and chunked yuca, brown and sizzling, piled halfway to the ceiling, still smoking from its bath of hot oil. You’ve had fried shellfish before, but the clams and scallops in this jalea are dipped in batter and fried still in their shells, which are almost impossible to prise open without burning your fingers. You’ve had fried yuca too, probably at a Caribbean restaurant, but this yuca is especially appealing, frazzled to a deep crunch on the outside and almost molten inside. There is a sprinkling of chancho on top, toasted kernels of oversized Peruvian corn, and an intensely tart salsa criolla. made with shaved red onions, chiles and fresh lime juice."