The intersection of Jamaica Ave. and Forest Parkway in Woodhaven, Queens — where the J train stops at 85th St. — is a busy shopping district and where Mistura Peruana lies, lined with other markets stocked with food from multiple continents. If it’s lunch you’re after, this food court is a hidden gem and foodie’s delight.
There are three food counters, each one representing different countries: Mistura Peruana (Peru), Brasil Foods (Brazil), and El Caribeno (Columbia). Peru is the vendor with the longest line; it should be your first choice to avoid waiting forever under the hot sun for food. The food stand roasts meats like chicken and pork daily in preparation for lunchtime service. You can also buy uncooked rotisserie chicken by the pound.
Owner and food entrepreneur Victor Calderon brings the food of his native Peru to NYC, offering a mix of food court food and food stand food. The layout is like a food court; you order at one counter and pay for your food there, then sit anywhere in the food court area (there are several tables) and they’ll bring your food over.
However, their menu is more extensive than other food stands, with items that go beyond the usual fried rice or deli sandwiches — though you can get those too — into truly Peruvian dishes such as Papa Rellena. If you’re familiar with Peruvian cuisine it should be obvious what these specialties are: Anticuchos de Corazon (skewers made from the beef heart), Lomo Saltado (a stir-fry dish made with marinated beef, served on white rice), and Pollo a la Brasa (rotisserie chicken).
You may be familiar with food from other Latin American countries like Colombia or Mexico, but it can be hard to find food from Peru. Calderon expressed why he thought the food of Peru is not as well-known. “Maybe because we are a small country,” he said in Spanish. Many Peruvians in Queens come from a town in Arequipa called Mistura, where food stalls feature their town’s cuisine at festivals every year.
In addition to food from his home region, Calderon also offers food from many other regions of Peru. The food stands food features food from Lima, the country’s capital, where food uses more imports like asparagus and strawberries that are not widely available in Peru.
Mistura Peruana opened in Woodhaven, New York in 2009 and has been featured in celebrities’ blogs.
Mistura Peruana has won awards from The New York Daily News, TimeOut NY, and the Queens Gazette among others. It was also a winner of Best Food Court Lunch by Zagat Guide in 2012 – one of only two food court lunch winners that year.
Mistura Peruana has co-sponsored events in the community, such as a Christmas show at Ditmars Blvd. Elementary School in 2012 and promoting its food to help make Peru Night Festival in September more successful.
If you want good Peruvian food but are pressed for time, Mistura Peruana is definitely worth your lunch break. If you’re feeling adventurous, check out their menu online and order ahead on SeamlessWeb to skip the line when you get there.
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