We found the best place ever – EVER – for chicken!
It’s this little tiny unassuming place with dirt-encrusted red doors on the main road in Pisac. The official name of the restaurant is Gamelas Polleria, but we affectionately call it ‘Mama Chicken.’
One day we had agreed to get home and have dinner ready by 6PM sharp. We’d hiked up one of the giant mountains that surround Pisac that day and we were so tired that our shaking legs were about to give out. We weren’t even sure if we could manage the one kilometer walk home, so the thought of going to the market and cooking dinner for our friends for movie night was completely out of the question.
Matt had been raving about ‘this chicken place’ for a week solid, saying it was the best chicken he’d ever had. I wanted to sample it for myself. We decided on one and a half hour trek down the mountain that we’d pick up some chicken to go. But, our plans were dashed when we realized that the red doors to the polleria were locked. It was nearing 6, we had no food at the house and really couldn’t think of any more options. We didn’t want to leave our friends hanging, especially after we’d promised we’d have dinner waiting.
So, we yelled up to the second story above Gamelas. Several times. Just as we were about to give up and walk away, this large smiling Peruvian Momma flung the windows open. She recognized Matt from the week before. (Matt’s especially easy for the locals to recognize because he’s got a long red beard, something they don’t see too often.)
“What time do you open?” we asked in Spanish.
“6:30, mas o menos.” she replied, which in Peru means “Oh . . . sometime after 7.”
“Awww, too bad!” we replied and began to walk away.
“Wait! Wait! Wait!” she called. “For you, 6:00!” This really meant that we’d have chicken in hand by 6:30. Well worth the wait.
Seriously, it’s some of the best chicken I’ve ever had. Mama Chicken’s back yard is a giant chicken coop. She’s got a shiny wood-fired stove where they rotisserie the chicken. If you walk in and ask for a menu, they’ll look at you a little funny, because there is no menu, there’s just chicken. And fries. And occasionally a good ole chicken foot soup. And salad, except we gringos most likely can’t eat that or we’ll be in the throes of a three-day bout of TD.
The chicken is smoky-fire flavored, moist, savory and the skin is divine! The meat falls off the bone. And since the chickens come hand raised from Mama Chicken’s back yard, there’s a ‘real’ kind of flavor that the factory farmed chicken I’m accustomed to in the states just can’t compete with. The fries can be hit or miss, usually a hit, but bring your own ketchup because the watery red stuff they serve can be dissappointing. And they have a TV, which is always playing something fun, whether it be The Simpsons or an old 80’s movie dubbed in Español.
We always bring an extra baggie so we can take the bones and any leftover skin home so we can feed it to the dogs, who smell us coming from a half a kilometer down the road. (Yes, Peruvian dogs live on chicken bones, but more on that later.)
So, if you find yourself in Pisac, make sure you check out Mama Chicken. She’ll have a smile for you. You’ll leave with greasy fingers, a full belly and a pack of dogs following you down the street.