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Peruvian restaurants are the newest fad in Lexington. In 2022 two new outlets opened and another one promises to open in early 2023.

Peruvian cuisine begins with Pollo ala Brasa, a whole chicken marinated for 24 hours in whichever special marinade a chef or cook prefers, then slow cooked on a rotisserie over a bed of hot coals (see phtoto, above).

The second popular Peruvian entree is Papa Relleno, a stuffed mashed potato ball. The ball of mashed potatoes are wrapped around whichever stuffing a chef or cook prefers, then fried. The result is crispy golden brown on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside, filled with meat and vegetables (see photo, right).

The third Peruvian classic is the Empanada, basically a meat turnover (photo, left). These are usually filled with beef or chicken, but can be filled with anything and a creative chef or cook will have their faorite ways of fixing them.

Other traditional Peruvian foods are made from some combination of potatoes, corn, rice, beans, chili peppers and fish. Peru is home to more varieties of potatoes than any other nation in the world, many of them growing wild in the mountains. Three different kinds of Sweet Potatoes are particularly prolific and Peruvians have been fixing them in various ways for 5000 years. Peruvian Maize is sweeter with larger kernels than Corn elsewhere. Quinoa is a native Peruvian plant which ancient societies used and has become popular around the world. Fish is popular in Peru, but they don't fry or bake it. They marinate it in an acid made from citrus juices, strong local onions, and extremely hot peppers. In effect, the fish is sterilized. It is then eaten cold and raw, accompanied by a Sweet Potato and fresh fruits or vegetables.

Chic Charc is, unfortunately, located on Anniston Drive way out on the fringes of north Lexington. And they have a short menu : Peruvian Chicken, Empanadas, Cassava Fries, Stuffed Yucca and Yellow Rice. But this is good food, delicious and with generous portions.

You can order a whole, half or quarter chicken, or you could order it as a sandwich, or as a BBQ, in which case it's pulled after being rotisseried.

The Empandas come stuffed with either beef or chicken, plus peppers, onions and cheese. The Rice comes with green beans and carrots.

Since the Empanadas come stuffed with meat, probably you won't want to order them as a side with the Chicken, but they're very good and on another day could be an order by themselves. Locals order two, one Chicken and one Beef, for lunch.

Sides include Cole Slaw, Green Beans, Chick Peas, Salad, Mashed Potatoes with Gravy, and Steak Fries. The weak point on the menu is the Black Beans. They're not very good. But everything else on the menu is delicious.

Brasa's has a slightly better location than Chic Charc but not by much. It's in a strip mall at 565 New Circle Road. But it offers a more extensive menu. There's the usual Pollo a la Brasa. But there's also Shrimp, Beef and Fish. Sides include Yucca Fries, Sweet Potato Fries, and different kinds of Rice.

Beverages include Peru's National Drink : Chicha Morada, a concoction including Purple Corn, Pineapple, Quince, Cinnamon and Cloves all dissolved in water and stirred vigorously. It originated high in the Andes but gradually spread until the whole country was drinking it. It's high in Capsaicins, which prevent strokes and heart attacks.

Then there's Maracuya, or Passion Fruit Juice. It's rich in antioxidants, a great source of fiber, and enhances digestion, improves eyesight, boosts circulation and lowers blood pressure.

The final Peruvian beverage is Inca Kola, a soft drink which was created in 1935 and has a lemon flavor.

You really ought to try one of these, but if you insist, Brasa's offers Ale 8 and Coca Cola.

Brasa's is basically a storefront, so functions best as a takeout place.

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