In Salt Lake City, you can find a Mexican, Chinese, and even Thai restaurant at nearly every city block. But it's rare you'll find a Peruvian restaurant–very rare. Luckily, Macario Diaz decided to import his flavorful and diverse native cuisine when he moved to West Valley City, allowing Utah's visitors and residents to sample this delicious and extremely diverse spread at El Rocoto.
Peru has a long and rich agricultural history. Since ancient times, Peruvians have been raising nutritious crops like quinoa and kaniwa, potatoes, corn, and ajies (chilis.) Though the colonial attitude toward the native food was snobbish, modern science recognizes these as miracle foods. In fact, items like quinoa are today being “rediscovered” by modern society for their extremely rich nutrition profile and complete protein content.
In its most recent centuries, Peru, like the US, has undergone serious waves of immigration. Today its food, like its culture, bears the influences of many countries. Peruvian cuisine contains overtones of Spanish, Chinese, West African, Italian, and even Japanese foods. Its native crops have been combined with chic peas, cabbage, artichokes, numerous grains, beans, onions, celery, lettuce, eggs, and fruit.
In the same way that it would be difficult to sum up American cuisine, Peruvian food cannot be pinned down in just a few sentences or a few dishes. And that's why El Rocoto has more than 70 entrees on its menu–not including appetizers, sides, or desserts.
Though El Rocoto has earned staggering amounts of praise in its short life, there's no guarantee it will be around forever. Stop in and enjoy while you can!