Okay, this may have been the most fun yet, eating-wise.
While we were in La Paz, we went to a bon voyage party for our Aussie friend, John, aboard his boat, Stormbay. One of the guests was Rick on s/v Karma. Lulu got to talking with Rick and telling him that we were getting ready to head across the Sea to Mazatlán for the rest of the winter. Rick told her that we needed to eat at a place called “Dunia’s”. The deal was, you buy your fish or shrimp or whatever from one of the local fishermen or vendors and then take them to Dunia’s where they’ll cook them for a small fee. he couldn’t explain exactly where it was but he said to just wait, some other cruisers would eventually invite us to go along with them to Dunia’s. Well, that finally happened yesterday.
Originally Mike and Melissa from s/v Tortue planned a group outing that included us, Dave and Marj (s/v Kievit), Donna, one of Melissa’s condo-owner buddies as well as possibly a few other cruisers from La Isla. By the time we were ready to head to town yesterday, the group had dwindled to just us, Kievits and Donna. Fortunately, Donna had done this before so she knew where to go, although Dave was pretty sure he knew where to go as well, just in case it came to that.
We boarded one of the little red pick-ups with the bench seats in the bed and headed downtown about 1:00 or so. The first order of business was to stop at las mujeres de camarones (the shrimp ladies).
A city block is lined with booth after booth selling primarily shrimp, but also lobster, octopus, sardines etc. But the shrimp! You could find huge vats full of everything from tiny little salad shrimp to big herkin’ things that would take at least 4 bites each to consume. Some had heads on and others had been beheaded already. Of course, the price per kilo went up if the heads had been removed. Lulu and I, being the indiscriminate shoppers we can sometimes be, zeroed in on the first booth and ordered 2 kilos of medium-size (large by US standards) head-on shrimp. Dave and Marj and Donna took considerably longer to make their choices. Donna opted for some of the humongous beheaded Pacific shrimp and Dave & Marj went for some that were a bit bigger than ours and headless.
Loaded down with close to 7 pounds of shrimp, we walked around the corner to Dunia’s.
It was a cavernous place and we headed way to the back to get our table. Within a few seconds, our waitress, Wendy, had taken our drink orders. When she returned we placed our shrimp orders. The deal we were told is that they would boil or steam your shrimp for nothing. Or you could order it batter-fried, al diablo (in a slightly spicy tomato sauce), or al mojo de ajo (fried with butter and garlic). Donna ordered hers half al diablo and half al mojo de ajo. We decided that we would order ours garlicky and Dave & Marj would order theirs al diablo and then we’d just share.
We had a couple more beers while we were waiting. They were busy and, besides, they’re making their money off the beer, not the shrimp. But, just before we perished from malnutrition, here came our food.
First a big ol’ platter of camarones al mojo de ajo:
We passed the napkins around and dug in. Ohhhhhhhhh! So goooooood. The heads popped right off and the kitchen crew had already peeled our shrimp for us. The al diablo sauce was a little spicy but also sort of sweet like BBQ sauce. The garlic shrimp was deliciously garlicky. We all decided that, were we to do it again, we’d skip the al diablo as it kind of hides the taste of the shrimp. It was really good, but the garlic shrimp was tastier. It wasn’t long before the only thing left on the platters was a pile of heads and some sauce for sopping up with a tortilla.
We sat back, patted our bellies, picked our teeth and finished our beers. Nothing left to do but pay up. The beers were 14 pesos each and I think they charged us 40 pesos per kilo to cook the shrimp. Even including the price we’d already paid for the shrimp (Lulu and I paid 160 pesos for 2 kilos), this was an amazingly cheap and satisfying meal. Excellent way to spend the early afternoon.
Snapped a photo of the kitchen staff hard at work on the way out.