Peru is perhaps best known for Machu Picchu and its share of the Amazon Rainforest. However, did you know that Peruvian cuisine is renowned for the unique ingredients, which sets it apart from other countries? Peru’s culinary ingenuity, which includes fusing traditional and modern cooking methods and constantly reinventing cooking techniques, bodes well for the country’s food scene. Its young chefs are constantly searching for new and exotic ingredients to uncover more culinary possibilities. With Peruvian cuisine receiving more global recognition, this article covers a comprehensive list of traditional food in Peru. Continue reading to learn about the delectable delights that the country has to offer.
1. Lomo saltado (stir-fried beef)
Lomo saltado is a traditional stir-fry dish that fuses Peruvian and Asian cooking styles and ingredients. It consists of marinated beef cooked together with vegetables in a pan with a soy sauce mixture. It is normally served with rice and French fries, which makes for an extremely hearty meal. This dish is perfect for those who are craving a beef fix in Peru.
2. Ceviche (marinated raw fish)
Ceviche is a popular seafood dish that is known as Peru’s national dish. It is also one of the things Peru is famous for. The Peruvian slow-cooking method is used in this dish. Until serving, the raw fish chunks are handled with citrus juice and marinated for an extended period of time. It seems ordinary, but the spices and seasonings are what set it apart. This dish is ideal for foodies looking for a true taste of Peruvian cuisine. Those looking for a great summertime dish will love the refreshing and delightfully acidic flavour.
3. Aji de gallina (chicken stew in spicy sauce)
Aji de gallina (translates to “chicken chili”) is widely known as Peruvian comfort food which combines European cooking style and Peruvian ingredients. It is a chicken stew that has tender chicken slathered in rich and creamy yellow chilli sauce. It usually comes with boiled potatoes and rice. Feeling down in the dumps? This flavourful and comforting dish is perfect for foodies who need a quick pick-me-up!
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4. Causa rellena (layered potato casserole)
Causa rellena is a traditional Peruvian appetiser. It is a tiny casserole that has potato mixed with citrus juice and aji amarillo on the top and bottom. The filling, which can range from seafood (lobster, shrimp, tuna) to meat (chicken) or even fruit (avocado) is sandwiched between the top and the bottom. Need a break from the sweltering Peruvian heat? This dish is served cold and is ideal for those who require a cooling dish when the weather becomes unbearably hot.
5. Arroz con pato (duck with rice)
Arroz con pato is a traditional Peruvian dish that originated in Chiclayo, a city in northern Peru. It appears simple, but it is a classic dish that can be found all over the country. It consists of golden seared duck meat which is cooked with beer, spices and cilantro paste. The dish is usually served with rice, which makes for a filling meal. This dish is great for hungry foodies looking for a taste of authentic Peruvian cuisine.
6. Papa a la huancaina (boiled yellow potato)
Papas a la huancaina is an appetiser that is popular among Peruvians due to its ease of preparation. It is a salad made of boiled golden potatoes and huancaina sauce, a spicy and creamy sauce. However, do not be deceived by its seemingly simple ingredient list. This dish packs a punch of flavour with a slight spiciness that leaves a sluggish after-burn, making it ideal for foodies who love an adrenaline rush. The absence of meat in this dish also makes it a great option for vegetarians.
7. Pollo a la brasa (roast chicken)
Pollo a la brasa has firmly established itself as a staple of Peruvian cuisine and culture. Preparing this dish involves a traditional cooking method of cooking, a marinated rotisserie chicken over charcoal. The sauce used to marinate the chicken, which is flavoured with spices and herbs, is what sets this dish apart from other others. This dish is usually accompanied by a salad and a size of sizzling French fries. Did you know that Peru’s government has designated the third Sunday of every July as national Pollo a la Brasa Day since 2010? This dish is ideal for foodies looking for a true taste of Peruvian cuisine.
8. Rocoto relleno (stuffed spicy pepper)
Rocoto relleno is a popular and extremely spicy dish that pays homage to Peru’s spices. It is made up of rocoto peppers that have been stuffed with minced meat and herbs and then covered with melted cheese. Did you know that when raw, a rocoto pepper is ten times spicier than a jalapeno pepper? If you are a thrill-seeking foodie with a fondness for spicy food, this is the one dish you must try in Peru.
9. Tiradito (thinly sliced raw fish)
Tiradito is a dish that embodies the best of both worlds. This Japanese-Peruvian fusion dish represents the influence of Japanese immigrants on Peruvian cuisine. In a similar fashion to Japanese sashimi, the raw fish is cut into thin slices. The raw fish is drizzled with a sauce made of lime and lemon juices, Peruvian chilli, salt, ginger and garlic. This dish is great for foodies looking for a taste of cross-cultural fusion cuisine in Peru.
10. Cuy (guinea pig)
Cuy (pronounced “kwee”), also known as guinea pig, has been a popular Peruvian delicacy since the 15th century. Interestingly, cuy is not regarded as a household pet in Peru, but rather as an essential source of protein. Cuy can be roasted, curried, and even sweetened. It is usually cooked and served whole. A word of caution: do not be alarmed if you walk into a restaurant and see people consuming this dish with their bare hands. Using your hands makes it easier to pick up the meaty portions. This dish is ideal for adventurous eaters who want to try something different. So while you’re checking off items in your list of things to do in Peru, make sure to try this special dish!
Get a taste of Peruvian cuisine
Like its best places to visit, Peru’s culinary delights are also not to be missed. Of course, these include the country’s street foods, too! If you’re planning a trip to Peru soon, do give your taste buds a treat with these 10 traditional must-try dishes.
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