Influenced by different waves of immigration from distinct corners of the globe, Peruvian cuisine is a fascinating combination of styles and flavors. Immigrants from Spain, China, Africa and Japan brought with them their own cooking heritage, but adapted their traditional recipes to the new, and very different, ingredients they found in Peru. Traditional Andean Peruvian ingredients used a great deal in the Peruvian kitchen include corn, chili, quinoa and many different types of potato. These traditional ingredients combined with excellent seafood and eastern cooking styles make for some very exciting dishes. Here’s a beginners guide to eating in Peru to get you ready for you next vacation in Peru.
♦ Eating in Peru: The Peruvian Food Menu
Anticuchos – A very popular snack all over Peru, Anticuchos are spicy grilled meat or seafood served on skewers. They go particularly well with a chilled beer!
Causa – Mashed sweet potato seasoned with pepper and lime juice. Great comfort food!
Ceviche – Raw pieces of fish traditionally marinated in lime juice, garlic, coriander and chili. This is Peru’s national dish and there are many different creative versions of it. We recently tried a delicious wasabi and coconut version!
Tiradito – Thinly sliced pieces of raw fish, like a carpaccio, with subtle flavors added. A more delicate alterative to the larger fish pieces of ceviche.
Leche de Tigre – Literally meaning tiger’s milk, this zesty juice is part and parcel of ceviche, consisting of lime juice and fish stock with a variety of seasonings. It’s known both as an aphrodisiac and a hangover cure.
Carapulca – Stewed chicken and pork with dried potato, chili, peanuts and cumin.
Papa – Not a difficult one to recognize, this is of course the humble potato! However, in Peru it comes in a staggering 3,000 varieties!
Chifa – The name given to Chinese/Peruvian fusion food.
Lomo Saltado – Beef marinated in vinegar and stir fried with yellow peppers, onions, tomatoes and soy sauce. This is a very popular Chifa dish.
Cuy – Guinea pig, usually grilled or fried whole and often compared to duck in flavor.
Ajilimo – The spicy red or orange pepper often used in ceviche.
Rocoto – A hot, yellow chili pepper, usually deseeded as it’s a fiery one!
Ajipanca – A milder red chili pepper with a hint of smokiness.
♦ Drinking in Peru: The Peruvian Drinks Menu
Pisco Sour – The national cocktail of Peru and a refreshing blend of ice, lemon juice, pisco and egg white. It may sound a little unusual but is fruity, smooth and delicious.
Chicha – An alcoholic fermented maize drink with aromatic herbs, usually found in the Andean regions of Peru.
Lima is one of the best places to try Peruvian cuisine, it’s on the coast so the fish is very fresh and it has some of the most sophisticated restaurants in the country. See our Cusco and Lima Special tour here.