Peruvian chefs serve up world's largest ceviche

CALLAO, Peru Sun Dec 7, 2008 7:21pm EST

1 of 5. Chefs pour the traditional ceviche into a tray in Lima, December 7, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Pilar Olivares

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CALLAO, Peru (Reuters) - Peruvian chefs, elbow deep in more than six tons of sliced fish, onions and lime, won on Sunday the Guinness World Record for preparing the largest ceviche, a Peruvian seafood specialty.

The classic dish, made from raw fish and a spicy citrus sauce that "cooks" it, weighed in at 6.8 tons, 2 tons more than the previous record.

Some 450 students and chefs worked in an open-air sports stadium in Callao, a working-class district near Peru's capital -- slicing, dicing and mixing white fish with lime, salt, onions and aji peppers.

A Guinness representative was on hand to make the count official.

"Today, we have brought together all the people of Callao so that in the name of Peru, we can take back the Guinness record," said Callao's regional president Alexander Kouri, who stood in front of 14 giant metal containers filled with fish.

The previous record for the world's largest ceviche, weighing in at 4.5 tons, was set in Mexico in 2005. Prior to that, Peru held it at 4.1 tons.

To weigh the ceviche, students scooped it into smaller boxes that they put on top of a movable scale. It took some two dozen hands to lift each container.

Ronald Espinoza, 25, was one of the students on hand to prepare the ceviche. He said the dish, which has been a constant in Peru since the time of the Incas, gives people a reason to get together and celebrate.

Hundreds of people from the neighborhood waited outside the Callao stadium for a plate of food.

"A Peruvian who does not eat ceviche is not Peruvian," said Espinoza.

(Reporting by Dana Ford)

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