Paraguay: Fish Soup, Poaching, and Owls

Today we had quite an adventure. We were going to eat crepes for lunch (excellent crepes compliments of Nickie’s mom-they call them pancakes), but we had to go buy some fish for our asado (grill out), so we just ended up eating at one of the little make-shift restaurants around the fish market. These pescado restaurants were the kind where you really wonder if they are safe to eat at… I made the joke to Nickie that you know it is authentic home cooking when you find a hair in your food (which I did).

I ate the best fish soup I have ever had at Shoping del Pescado (one of the little restaurants). It also had an incredibly beautiful view of the Rio Paraguay, one of the two main rivers in Paraguay. Also at the restaurant were Maka (ma-KAA), some of the indigenous people of Paraguay. The ladies were selling necklaces I assume they made. Alfredo, Nickie’s father, was telling me that there was a Maka reservation nearby. He also said that they had originally lived on the other side of the river, but about 300-400 years ago, when the Spanish were colonizing Asuncion, they relocated to this side of the river and started frequenting the city more often because it was safe and there was more often food than not.

Right before we were leaving Shoping del Pescado,  Nickie and his dad asked the owner of the restaurant if we could just purchase the fish we wanted from him and he said that we could. Nickie and his father then followed the man into a locked room with freezers in it, but walked out empty handed less than two minutes later. The fish we were looking for is called Pacu (ba-KOO), but what his freezers were full of were Dorado.  This is not a good thing. For about 5 years, there has been a ban against being in possession and fishing for Dorado because it is near extinction from over-fishing. People who are caught with one of these golden fish (thus it’s name) will be fined an amount equal to about 1/2 a year’s minimum-wage salary. This man had about 30 Dorados, ranging from 5-10 kilos, in his freezers. Nickie’s father was fairly upset about it and lost the taste for fish. We ended up not looking for any more Pacu.

On our way home, I bought a small carved owl from a very young indian mother on the street. The whole family was selling little carved animals. They were actually quite nice. We also went to Mercado de Abasto, where they sell fruit wholesale. I have never seen that many oranges in one place in my life!

I know this was a long post, but a lot happened today! I’ll write more and post more pictures when other exciting things happen!

Sofie trying her first piece of Mandioca (Yucca Root)

Indian girl with baby selling carved animals

In front of the Rio Paraguay

My father-in-law enjoying a good meal

My delicious Caldo de Pescado

Rio Paraguay


One response to “Paraguay: Fish Soup, Poaching, and Owls

  1. Hey- It all sounds great! How did Sofie like the mandioca root? Steven has a good time at camp, he hearing loss is still the same. I am definitely teacing in the fall- Amen! Kora will be here on the 29th, that Friday when you are here.
    Love you all, say hello to Andrea and Alfredo.

    Love, Mom xox


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