I’m beginning to suspect I’m not built like other travellers.

Rather than seek one of the excellent cafes in Cusco on my first day in the city I found myself drawn towards ‘Hot Chicken’, a beaten-up polleria on Santa Clara, just past the stone archway on the way to San Pedro market.

I’d like to say that I was drawn to ‘Hot Chicken’ because I figured they’d offer a more authentic dining experience.

Or that it would offer a unique insight into the local culture.

It did both, by the way. But the truth of the matter is that I think I just feel more at home at these kinds of places.

'Hot Chicken' restaurant in Cuzco (Peter Moore)
Dinner at 'Hot Chicken' in Cuzco. (Peter Moore)

‘Hot Chicken’, not surprisingly, sold hot rotisserie cooked chicken. 

It was served with chips and rice and accompanied by a selection of local condiments, all for less than two to three bucks. 

You paid for your order at the cashier who gave you a ticket to give to the waiter after you chose your table.

I ordered a quarter of chicken but should have followed the locals’ lead and ordered an eighth. I got an enormous wing and breast portion and struggled to get through it. 

Inside 'Hot Chicken' in Cuzco (Peter Moore)
The entrance to 'Hot Chicken'. (Peter Moore)

The meal also came with a yellow-coloured drink.

Try as I might, I couldn’t quite identify what it was.

Other than that, I couldn’t fault ‘Hot Chicken’.

It was dark and dingy, with battered booths and paint peeling from the walls. 

A flat-screen television blared out cultural performances from some unnamed festival.

And my fellow patrons all looked like they had fallen upon hard times.

It was the perfect start to my visit to Peru.

And proof, straight away, that it was my kind of country.