Indian delight in Huaraz, Chilli Heaven to offer delectable new dishes

Those who have seen and eaten too many pizzas and for a day, like to skip the traditional Peruvian dishes such as ceviche, pollo a la brasa and pachamanca, Chilli Heaven in Huaraz offers the solution. The tiny restaurant located in the tranquil plaza of Parque de Ginebra, less than a block from the main square, is a true treat for Asian food lovers. Tripadvisor users rave about this place and many folks confirm that they went more than once during their stay in Huaraz.

Chilli Heaven opened their doors 13 years ago and although the restaurant is pretty small, their fresh ingredients and flavours in Indian, Thai, Mexican and other Asian-esque dishes are massive. Open seven days a week, Chilli Heaven offers all sorts of Indian curries such as Rogan Josh with tofu, chicken, steak or prawns, Punjabi beef, a fairly hot madras, and a splendid spicy Vindaloo. The editor´s favourite is a cashew curry called Kathmandu korma, which comes with chicken and prawns. Additionally the restaurant offers the Phal curry challenge, an extra spicy dish which is to be completed without having soft drinks or rice. However, for those who manage to complete this challenge, there will be a free beer on the house.

Thai curries are offered in all flavours and colours (green, red, yellow) and come with chicken, beef, prawns or tofu. Don´t visit Chilli Heaven on Sunday if you´re about to try their fajitas or burritos because those are only served from Monday to Saturday. Another great dish to give a try is the chicken stir fry with hoisin bittersweet sauce, coconut milk and peanuts.

Chilli Heaven additionally offers a free tea bar from 10am to 4pm and has delicious fruit juices on offer such as banana shake, banana lassy, mango and papaya. Logically, there´s also local brewed beer on offer, Argentinian and Chilean wines and liqueur such as Pisco, Vodka and rum. Chilli Heaven gained respectable reviews in many travel guides such as Lonely Planet, Footprint and Tripwolf. The female owner of Chilli Heaven stressed us to mention that some dishes may contain ingredients such as milk, yogurt, coconut and other nuts which may cause allergic reactions. This is also correctly mentioned on their menu.

Chilli Heaven has been backing The Huaraz Telegraph since our launch in 2012 and therefore we spoke with owner Beatriz Guzmán Valenzuela and asked her about the new dishes for the 2017 high season.

Well, yes indeed, we have a couple of dishes that are not on the menu yet. In the first place I would like to recommend your followers and readers to give the Biriyani dish a try. This is an Indian curry containing rice, Indian spices, vegetables, chicken and dried fruits. Maybe you could compare this dish best to a Peruvian arroz chaufa, but with an excellent Indian flavour. Also, not on the menu but certainly available in our restaurant are Tandoori Fajitas (Indian chicken wraps) and Tandoori with prawns and Mexican soup, which is full of fresh vegetables, beans and chicken.

How did you fine-tune your food because if we had to believe some TripAdvisor reviews, the food in Chilli Heaven gets so close to real Indian food from India itself? How did you manage that?

Over the years we have improved our dishes a lot, thanks to reviews and comments we receive almost daily. Let me tell you that most of our spices we use are not for sale in Peru. My sister who lives in Canada sends me the products. She runs a specialty story on Indian products; however, I have to order these products 20-30 days in advance because it always takes a while before they get here. Unfortunately, sending something from another continent is not cheap, but this makes our flavours unique. Luckily my sister is able to do so. I probably don’t have to tell you that we go to the market every day; to make sure we only have fresh products on offer.

Chilli Heaven is a family business right?

Yes it is, and this might explain the success of our business apart from the personalised service we offer to our clients. I believe we have a good team including my son Jean-Pierre, my daughter in law and my boyfriend who helps out as well. Our staff is well trained and has many years working in Chilli Heaven so they know very well what to expect. Jean-Pierre is not only my son but also our chef. He is very dedicated to the business and is the star of our kitchen. We do most of the cooking together, but fairly, without him I wouldn’t be able to run the place. Jean-Pierre is considerably organised, works hard but can also overview things for example when the restaurant gets packed. I believe we form a good team!

During these 13 years you have been running the business, were you able to welcome some national or international celebrities to your restaurant?

Well, despite the fact that our restaurant receives far more foreigners compared to Peruvians, we have received a couple of Peruvian showbiz celebrities. Manolo del Castillo, who presents the programme Reportaje al Perú is a big fan of our food. Some participants of the programme Esto es Guerra have visited us as well in the past. Maybe the most know Peruvian personalities that have paid us a visit are Ricardo Morán Vargas (a Peruvian television and stage producer and director) and Aldo Mariátegui Bosse (Peruvian lawyer and famous journalist). They were surprised with our food and said to look for a similar place in Lima.

Finally, if there´s still people who haven´t tried Chilli Heaven, what would you like to say to them?

Don´t let the name Chilli Heaven scare you! Not all food we have on offer is spicy, not at all actually. We can make it as spicy as you wish and always try to coordinate this with our clients. Fajiltas and burritos aren´t spicy either and additionally there are a lot of vegetarian and vegan dishes available too. We have noticed that more and more people are looking for healthy food for the past years and we are able to offer this luckily. Also, during the high-season in Huaraz it´s recommended that groups of five people or more anticipate by making a reservation in the morning or the day before.

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