After stocking up on sushi and sashimi in Vancouver, it is in a very different manner that we enjoyed raw seafood on the splendid Oaxacan coast last week. Following our Mexican friends Paco and Paola's recommendation, we looked for "ceviche", that typical dish of the coastal regions of Central and South America - which over the time has developed its own distinctive style in Mexico.
At Kapricho, a tiny little eatery along the main road of San Agustinillo, a tiny little village itself on the Oaxacan coast, Ivonne serves exclusively ceviche - and probably eats mostly ceviche too, looking at her own tiny little proportions. As a fervent advocate of short menus and simple concepts, I particularly appraised that charming young lady's choice to propose just one dish, the one she has truly mastered.
She still offers a few variations of it though. Next to the classic fish or prawn ceviche, Ivonne's chalkboards also feature a "Ceviche Tropical" where mango, apple and mint have replaced the usual tomatoes and cilantro, a "Ceviche Kapricho" which includes a bit of everything - fish, prawn, tomatoes, onion, avocado, cucumber, carrots, mango, pineapple, cilantro and ginger - an extra hot "Aguachile" and even a "Ceviche de Soya" for vegetarians.
We visited Kapricho twice over three days and tried the "Ceviche Kapricho" as well as the "Ceviche Tropical". Both were marvels of freshness and flavour, absolutely perfect after a hot day by the sea. Two lovely sauces were also there to accompany the tostadas and bring an extra kick to the dish: a green blend of cream, onions, cilantro and green chili, and a red blend of mayonnaise and chipotle, a smoke-dried jalapeño chili. Ivonne revealed to me that she marinates the seafood for two hours in salted lime and orange juice and discards the marinade after that, using fresh lime juice to serve. With that extra bit of knowledge, ceviche will definitely be on the menu of my next Mexican-theme dinner party upon our return!