There have been rumblings for a while now in Melbourne’s bustling foodie scene about a certain cuisine that’s set to shake things up a bit. You’ve probably seen a bunch of South American joints pop up recently, but chances are, you still aren’t quite sure what to expect.
Due to the ethnic fusion of the region, South American cuisine has taken influences from Native America, Africa, Spain, and Italy... so basically it’s a mash up of all the best bits of the best cuisines!
We headed along to LULO, the best in the biz when it comes to incredible, South American food (and good hospitality to boot!), and got the low down on their menu – as well as what to order.
One thing you might not have known about South Americans is that they really know how to do seafood. Traditionally it’s all about fresh, clean flavours. At LULO, we think they have captured this perfectly, so here are our picks of the seafood menu.
- A South American recipe cooked with Australian prawns sounds like a winner to us. LULO’s prawn ceviche is served with finger lime, pomegranate, ginger and panca chilli.
- Cooked on the grill, this octopus dish comes with pomelo and plantain and hits all the right smoky notes.
- You’ll find yellow fin tuna sashimi on LULO’s ceviche menu, and it’s right up there as one of our favourites. It’s oh so fresh and is accompanied by lime, rocoto chilli and cucumber. The perfect starter dish.
- Another one from the ceviche menu, LULO mixes the flavours up with a spanner crab dish that comes with coconut, corn and LULO’s own leche de tigre (the Peruvian term for the citrus-based marinade that cures the seafood in a ceviche). The result is stunning - both visually and in taste.
- It’s hard to go past oysters if they’re ‘your thing’. The oysters at LULO are served fresh with either lemon or coriander aji (a spicy South American sauce).
Vegetarians unite! South American Cuisine really embraces vegetarian dishes, and there are soooo many epic options for you at LULO. We’ve narrowed it down to our four favourites, but if you’re a vegetarian (or even if you’re not) the LULO menu is a must.
- The zucchini flowers come with three cheeses, cauliflower and a black mint dressing and are all kinds of lip-smacking delicious.
- Empanadas of smoked eggplant, raisins, cheese and cauliflower with pebre salsa, (a Chilean condiment that’s a South American BBQ essential) will have you feasting on pillowy pastry pockets of perfection.
- Who doesn’t love a quinoa salad?! South America is the traditional home of quinoa so it’s put to good use. The LULO option includes grilled cabbage, spiced carrot puree, pepetas, and beetroot crisps. It’s every bit as delicious as it sounds.
- Next up are the yuca fritas served with huancaina sauce and cumin salt. You can expect to tuck in to golden fried chips made from the South American root vegetable, and they’re accompanied by a spicy cheese sauce.
Just as the South Americans embrace vegetables, they’re also kings when it comes to more meaty dishes.
- Lamb cutlets would have to be one of life’s great pleasures. The option at LULO comes with roasted onion butter, tomatoes and habanero jam with jamon migas. The addition of Jamon migas is a welcome one – it’s a salted bread that’s been lightly fried in olive oil and is accompanied with bacon. Originally it was South American peasant food, but the simplicity makes it the perfect addition.
- LULO makes its own chorizo sausage in-house (yuuuummm!) and serves it with Colombian chimmi churri – a green sauce that goes perfectly with grilled meats.
- The other top-notch pork dish at LULO is the twice cooked pork belly. It’s accompanied by spiced pumpkin, roasted onion and an achiote aioli.
-The South American cuisine has a knack for taking a simple dish and making it punchy. LULO’s spiced chicken comes with lemon and a quince, raddish, and fennel salad. The flavour combination is one that will have you coming back for more.
-Papa rellena are Peruvian croquets and are some seriously tasty morsels. These ones are filled with braised beef, broad bean puree and corn salsa. The definition of moreish!
- A more substantial beef dish than the papa rellena, LULO’s char grilled strip loin comes with Creole sauce and is exactly what the doctor ordered for the serious meat lover.
So there you have it – a quick snap shot at JUST how varied (and delicious!) South American fare can be. Sounds to us like Mexican was so yesterday... And South American food may be on the up.
Editor's Note: This article is proudly sponsored by LULO and endorsed by The Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make The Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.
Image credit: Jenna Fahey White for The Urban List