A country in South America, Peru, is known for the Machu Pichu, which is a 15th-century Incan citadel, located at the Mountains of Andes. It is also home to a part of the Amazon rainforest, making it a must-visit location for all nature lovers. Also, another attraction here is the country’s capital, Lima, which contains a preserved colonial center and features significant pre-Columbian art collections. Additionally, Peru is boasting with many delectable local cuisines, from street foods to traditional food and gourmet dishes. In case you’re interested in traditional and affordable snacks in the country, read on, and discover the top street food you must try in Peru.
1. Papa Rellena
Potato dishes are a specialty of the Peruvian, and papa rellena is the king of them all. The street food is made of mashed potatoes filled with meat, egg, olives, and raisins, and then deep-fried until it is golden brown, just like the tamales, but only lacking the leaf packaging. The same with juanes and tamales, papa rellena, which translates to stuffed potato, is a convenient snack you can bring and eat anywhere. Make sure not to miss this savory dish when you visit Peru.
A portable snack like tamales and juanes, humitas is smaller in size but is also made of corn dough and wrapped in a cornhusk. Humitas comes in two distinct flavors, which are sweet and savory. The sweet version has sugar, cinnamon, and raisins for ingredients, while the savory one is made of butter, milk, and salt. The street food can be cooked in two ways through steaming or boiling. Additionally, humitas is perfect for busy people and tourists who are always up to something.
Compared to other street foods, it is a heavier snack and different from the dishes you’ll find in the streets of Peru. Juanes is a rice delicacy that is often seasoned with cumin and turmeric and contains a piece of egg, olive, and chicken, and then wrapped with a green bijao leaf. The seasoning gives it a yellowish color and a warm taste. Because of its packaging, juanes is a very convenient snack that you can bring while you explore the city’s many attractions.
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A traditional Peruvian dish that is famous in the Andes, rachi, is made of cow belly, Peruvian corn, garlic, salt, pepper, and other seasonings. You’ll usually find it in many street carts alongside with anticuchos, which you can opt to order them combined. But, unlike the anticuchos, rachi’s texture is chewy and not as savory. Make sure to try this food to have a taste of Peru on a plate.
5. Peruvian tamales
A food staple throughout South America, tamales is prepared with different ingredients and flavors in every country. But, the dough of the Peruvian tamales, which you’ll find in many street food stalls in Peru, is made of Peruvian yellow or white corn. After making the cornmeal dough, it is filled with chicken or pork meat, olives, nuts, boiled eggs, chili pepper, and on top are red onions. Usually, the tamales are wrapped in banana leaf, making it a snack-on-the-go kind of street food which you can eat while strolling around town.
Choclo is corn on a cob that is buttered and salted that is sold in many streets in Peru. But, unlike the corn, you’ll find in North America, it lacks the sweetness and is a larger version with big chunks of kernels. If you’re a vegetarian, this is the best option for you here, for most of the street foods here have meats for ingredients. It is also quite filling so it will give you the energy you need for strolling the area.
Anticuchos is a very popular street food in Peru that you’ll find almost everywhere in the country. Its history dates back to the 16th century when the Spaniards brought African slaves to the country. When the Spaniards butcher pigs, they give the innards to the African slaves, for they see it as garbage. As a result, the African slaves concocted the anticuchos. Later on, when they were freed from slavery, the mothers started selling the dish. Anticuchos is like a barbecue, but instead of meat, it is made of the cow’s innard, or beef, or chicken. It is cooked for five to seven minutes while regularly applying the sauce.
8. Peruvian empanadas
Almost everyone knows about empanada and has eaten one, especially that most countries have their versions. Empanada originally started in Southern Europe in the countries of Spain and Portugal, and nowadays, you can find it anywhere in Latin America. It is made of pastry dough stuffed with meat, cheese, and vegetables, as well as olives, hard-boiled eggs, onions, and sometimes with raisins. What makes the empanada different in Peru is it is served with lemon which makes the dish tangy and gives added moisture.
Often considered as a kind of doughnut, picarones is made of squash and sweet potato, making it a unique dish of Peru. It is a Peruvian dessert that is deep-fried until golden and usually served in a set of four with chancaca, which is a syrup made of cane. Additionally, it is a tradition in Peru that you have to serve picarones while consuming anticuchos. Make sure to try to eat both at the same time to know the difference when you try the two street food separately.
10. Huevos de codorniz
A popular but very simple snack that only has one step to make it (which is boiling), huevos de codorniz is a hard-boiled egg that has a creamy texture and taste. You’ll find it anywhere in Peru. Some vendors sell it unpeeled or as is, depending on your preference. You’ll also be given a toothpick for easy consumption. Another good thing about this snack is it is filling and at the same time affordable.
Don't miss out on good food when in Peru
Peru is a country that offers history, nature, art, and good food. It is a charming place that will take you thousands of years back by just visiting its archaeological sites and historical landmarks. But the best way to know this city is through the stomach so make sure you check out our top must-try street food in Peru.
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