I've been in Peru recently and enjoyed a lot of very good meals. Cebiches and tiraditos were among the best.

However, as it was a short business trip, luncheons were usually short and quick, so we tried with little luck to ask cebiche (or ceviche) for dinner.

We found out that Peruvians consider cebiche harmful at night, to the point that (most) cebicherías (restaurants serving only cebiche) are closed for dinner.

I tend to think that, being ceviche mainly raw seafood, this is just a myth coming from times when fridges were not available, but locals were very assertive about the inconveniences of eating raw seafood for dinner. They referred sleeping disorders, and the such.

So two questions:

  1. Anybody knows if the Peruvian massive opinion is shared with other people on the Pacific Rim? Is it really a myth?
  2. If the previous was affirmative ... Is it reasonable to store the day's catch outside a fridge (but in a shadowy and fresh place) to be eaten raw at dinner? (I like fishing, and I'm considering preparing cebiche with my catches).

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PS: Look the size of those corn kernels!

  • 1
    As always, thanks to the community for your effort in trying to get my English legible. Nov 23, 2010 at 3:25
  • remember, we're a cooking community, not a community of dietitians, nutritionists, or health professionals. While you may get lots of anecdotal evidence and even cited sources, I don't think we have any public health people to give you a definitive answer.
    – justkt
    Nov 23, 2010 at 13:44
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    @justk As per the faq Food handling and storage is on-topic, and cooking-myth is a tag. Also, if you re-read my question with a benevolent mood, you'll note that I'm not asking for a health professional opinion, but about how reasonable is hoping that fish meat will be good for eating raw after a day in a shadowy place. Also: now you know that cebicherias in Peru are closed at night and in Fiji they eat Kokoda anytime. I think these small pieces of knowledge are all about the JOY of cooking. Nov 23, 2010 at 14:06
  • I'm not voting to close or anything, just posting a note to any who read.
    – justkt
    Nov 23, 2010 at 14:13

3 Answers 3


In the South Pacific it's breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I could have Fijian Kokoda for every meal for a week, yuuuum!

Pacific style is with lime and coconut, it is still very acidic and fatty so not to everyone's taste

Could be specific fish types? But I have never had a problem

Once you add the lime juice to the fish it will keep longer without refrigeration

In Peru I suspect education is still lacking in food hygiene etc, so it may be a good move! (based on commentary from friends and relatives in Peru). Peru also has very traditions based cultures

  • @TFD Thanks for your answer! Very informative. Do you know for how long they keep the fish into the lemon juice? A side note: Peruvian cooking is very elaborate with dishes usually comprising four or more garments/side-dishes. And there are restaurants that envy none, like this one: larosanautica.com/rn_intro_en.html Nov 23, 2010 at 14:42
  • @belisarius Yes, Peru has an amazing depth or cultural foods. Many different cultures escaped Europe to Peru in the late 1930's and have influenced it greatly. Fijian Kokoda is typically "cooking" for six to twelve hours, but I have had it more than a day, and less than five minutes (while still on the boat catching the fish :-) ). All good
    – TFD
    Nov 24, 2010 at 3:27
  • @TFD Do they also make in Fiji that food cooked into a hole (dug up on the soil), over the embers and covered by earth and leaves. Its name is "curanto" in the Andean region. A really slow cooking technique! Nov 24, 2010 at 4:44
  • @belisarius In Fiji they do the Lomo, which is banana or palm leave wrapped food parcels, hot rocks in a hole in the sand, covered with more sand. The Maori of New Zealand do the earth hole with hot rocks (or old train track segments :-) ), and woven flax food baskets. Covered with more soil. Both are really nice, but have a very earthy taste, so many people are not used to it. A bit like having wild Goat for the first time
    – TFD
    Nov 24, 2010 at 9:36
  • @TFD This is Chilean delicious curanto google.com/… very similar, but tastes smokey and they don't wrap the food, just cover it with leaves. Almost the same thing, they put in vegetables, poultry, seafood, sausages, pork, .... Sometimes I regret SE not having a forum. Nov 24, 2010 at 11:31

If I read the wikipedia entry on this properly (which I looked-up to verify my hunch), it seems this is nominally equivalent to Japan's sushi/sashimi (sashimi being just the raw fish and sushi being the [generally] raw stuff inside rice and seaweed rolls).

If care is taken, I wouldn't see a reason why it couldn't be eaten later in the day. However, if you don't have a "good" place to store it, then I'd follow the local custom and skip it at the end of the day.

  • Thanks for your answer. There is a slight difference that could save my day: while japanese use is to eat the fish really raw, the cebiche is immersed in acid (lemon juice) for several minutes. Nov 23, 2010 at 14:25
  • Also, be careful with the curation process of Wikipedia. Sometimes the content is way off the mark. In this case it cites the coastal zones of Argentina as a place to eat distinctly unique styles of cebiche. Being an Argentinian myself, I am pretty sure that the only places where you may eat (bad) cebiche here is in Peruvian restaurants. Nov 23, 2010 at 14:34
  • @belisarius - I am quite aware of the curation process (or, rather, lack thereof) of wikipedia... but it certainly a good place to start :)
    – warren
    Nov 23, 2010 at 14:45
  • Of course! I was just trying to suggest a double check on important issues. Nov 23, 2010 at 14:48

I was in Lima for two nights and ate ceviche both evenings - once at a local place owned, oddly enough, by Argentines (but the ceviche was prepared by a Peruvian cook), and once as one small course in the tasting menu at the very nice and very patriotically-Peruvian restaurtant Astrid y Gastón. Nothing bad happened to me either time, unless you count acquiring a lifetime craving for ceviche.

  • I was at Astrid y Gastón too. Very nice restaurant, except for the fact that we were enjoying the first course and the waiter came to say "the kitchen is closing" ... Ha! In those kind of touristic/upper class restaurants I saw no distinction between day and night menu. But here you have an article I found today (in Spanish) mentioning cebiche as a "taboo" (sic) for dinner. elcomercio.pe/gastronomia/416881/… Next time you go to Lima, go to "Pescados capitales" pescadoscapitales.com/index.htm Better place to eat fish in Lima IMHO. Nov 23, 2010 at 21:02
  • I mean "Best place to eat fish in Lima IMHO" Nov 23, 2010 at 22:18
  • Yeah, that "lifetime craving for ceviche" is a common problem
    – TFD
    Nov 24, 2010 at 9:39

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