One of the treats of visting Peru was my introduction to “tuna.” Not the fish, but rather the fruit of the prickly pear. I grew up in Eastern Washington in the Yakima Valley where it is a full-on desert. While not that common, I have seen the prickly pear cactus and I have seen people eating cactus leaves before too. However, I had no idea that the prickly pear produced a succulent bulb of fruit about the size of an egg that is sweet and tasty.
When I was walking back from the Inca ruins near Ollantaytambo, I saw this lady sitting with a bunch of these weird bulb-y things. As I walked up, frantically thinking of how to ask what it was in Spanish, her friend called out in English for me to try it. She told me I would love it and explained what it was. For one sole, or about 35¢, the little old lady peeled me a “tuna” for my eating pleasure. Sadly, that was the one and only tuna I had my entire trip, despite seeing them everywhere. Next time, I will be gorging on them!