Backstory and Context
Ají Limón is a restaurant that adds Peruvian culture to the streets of Clifton, New Jersey. From the start, Peruvians and their migration led them to the one and only Paterson, New Jersey also known as “Little Lima”. Peruvians went from having only 11 people living in Paterson to now having Paterson be populated by 30,000+ Peruvians. This rise in population has allowed for their culture to continue to grow and expand within New Jersey. And it also is an important part of Peruvian history and culture in the U.S. which is: how Peruvians arrived to the states.
Peruvians food ranges depends on the region. As such, There are a lot of debates on the authenticity of Peruvian food especially during the process and birth of a "National Gourmet Food”. There are a lot of different perspectives that are given to Peruvian cuisine. On one hand, Peruvian food is seen as fine dining and in some restaurants such as Baby Brasa located in New York, the prices are so high that not many Peruvians around Paterson are willing to pay for it. Compared to other places such as Ají Limón in Clifton, New Jersey, which sells the exact same food but at a much cheaper rate. Clearly, if you are in New York, the food prices you find there will be more expensive compared to Paterson, New Jersey. Yet, wherever you acquire Peruvian cuisine, there is no doubt that the food you taste will be one of the best due to all the variety there is. So, it is really interesting to be able to see the differences not only due to location but also because in other places it is said to be, “Lima’s refined cuisine” and in others it could easily be an everyday kind of food.
Peruvian culture is more than just their food. Peru also has so many dances and this is all seen on their independence day, July 28th, at the Peruvian Parades in New Jersey where people sing, dance and eat. These parades are an opportunity for Peruvians to show off their culture by making Peruvian dishes and being able to share it not only with other Peruvians but also people from all kinds of different backgrounds. Ají Limón is important because of everything that it provides about Peruvian culture. It allows others to be able to get a taste of all that Peru has to offer. Peru is a country that has people of all different ethnic, racial and gendered backgrounds and that’s what makes Peru so great because it is not just one mold that people have to fit in but instead it is molded by its diversity.
Chin, Maria-Pia Negro. “Why Paterson, New Jersey, Is Famous in Lima, Peru.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, April 5, 2018. https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/05/peruvians-paterson/483288/.
Francesco, Michael G. “Peruvians in Paterson: The Growth and Establishment of a Peruvian American Community within the Multiethnic Immigrant History of Paterson, New Jersey - Michael G. Francesco, 2014.” SAGE Journals. Accessed December 10, 2019. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0096144213516078.
Matta, and Raúl. “Valuing Native Eating: The Modern Roots of Peruvian Food Heritage.” Anthropology of food. Isabelle Téchoueyeres, December 31, 2013. https://journals.openedition.org/aof/7361.