One of the best Latin American cuisines is probably the local food in Peru. And you shouldn’t miss the chance to try all of them! Discover them here.
Which country stretches from north to south but is not too wide? The answer is Peru. Peru is such a long country in South America. Alpaca or llama, Machu Picchu, and Huacachina desert might be some of the most popular things in this country. But don’t forget that this beautiful country has a long history from the Inca tribe, European colonialism, to Peru we know now.
With those historical inhabitants, it’s not only affecting Peruvian culture but also its cuisine. The influences from the colonialism era combined with recipes handed down since the Inca era producing Peruvian special dishes that can only be found in this country. Here we have a list consisting of 10 best local in Peru that you shouldn’t miss when you visiting this beautiful country.
1. Papas A La Huancaina
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Potatoes based dishes are widely known and have a lot of fans all over the world. One of the potatoes dish variations is Peruvian Papas A La Huancaina. This is a boiled potato that served with lettuce in beneath of the potatoes and mild spicy cheese sauce as the topping. Aji Amarillo (local chilies) used to make the sauce and it came from the Huancayo area in Mantaro River Valley.
As for potatoes are common dishes in Peru, this dish is easy to make and has a low price. Papas A La Huancaina usually ate as an appetizer and almost all of the restaurants in Peru have this dish on their menu.
Ceviche is actually cannot only be found in Peru but also in other Latin American countries. But every place always has its signature types and it makes the Ceviche in Peru different from other places. In Peru, Ceviche is one of the most popular food and it’s made from seasoned fresh raw fish. This dish is usually served along with vegetables and potatoes.
The fish that is usually used as the main ingredient of ceviche is tilapia or sea bass but sometimes other seafood such as tuna, clam or octopus are used as well. This raw seafood then mixed with Aji limo (Peruvian chilies), garlic, and lime extract. You can find this dish almost everywhere, from the street stall vendors to high-end restaurants.
Some places serve it along with sweet potatoes, corn, and coriander leaves. The combination of chilies and lime extract produces a spicy yet fresh taste that will tantalize your taste.
Another potato-based dish that is popular in Peru is Causa. This is a mashed potato seasoned with lime and pepper then filled with shredded chicken, tuna, or any other meats. Causa can be served as an appetizer or even as a snack.
It is said that this dish was found in the prehispanic or colonialism era. Causa is more like a potato cake and many restaurants have it on their menu.
A skewer is one of the easiest ways to process food. Many countries have their skewer signature as well as Peru. Peruvian skewer is called Anticuchos and it was made from cow’s heart and seasoned with chilies, vinegar, and garlic.
This dish is usually served along with boiled potatoes, corn, or sweet bread. It’s well suited for a snack in the afternoon or evening. You can find this dish easily since it’s popular street food in Peru.
5. Cuy (Guinea Pig)
What is the strangest food ingredient have you ever had? In Peru, especially the Andes area you can try unfamiliar meat that came from Guinea Pig or in local words, they call it ‘Cuy’. The raw ‘cuy’ is soaked in the seasoning like salt and garlic before it is cooked. This process produces a crispy skin. Guinea pig itself has a taste similar to chicken or rabbit, so it wouldn’t make you too surprised with this unfamiliar meat.
There are two types of cuy dishes in Peru, that is:
- First is the Cuy al Horno or Cuy al Palo which is a baked guinea pig and it’s cooked over a spit. Cuy then served as a whole and filled with spices.
- Then Cuy Chactado which is the most popular Cuy dish. The raw guinea pig is squashed under the stone then deep-fried before you can enjoy it.
These ‘cuy’ dishes are usually served along with potatoes, salads, rice, corn, or salsa. There are two types of salsa that are used in this dish, Salsa Criolla is a red onion relish and Salsa Huacatay is a spicy, green, spice-based sauce.
6. Lomo Saltado
Wanted to taste the Chinese flavor in Peru? You can try this Lomo Saltado. The combination of Chinese and Peruvian techniques for processing food is called “Chifa”. This dish is as popular as Ceviche among Peruvians. The sliced meat (it can be beef or even alpaca) is soak in the salted soy sauce, minced garlic, tomatoes, Aji chilies, and other spices. The meat then sauteed using wine until it has a tender texture and the other spices are formed like a sauce.
Similar to other Peruvian dishes, Lomo Saltado is also served along with steamed or fried potatoes and a cup of white rice. Peruvians also enjoy this dish with a glass of Inca Kola. The drink itself is a popular soft drink that’s not too sweet.
This dish can be found in almost all restaurants in Peru.
7. Pollo A La Brasa
Who doesn’t love grilled chicken? Every place in this world has its own grilled chicken signature. While in Peru, you can try Pollo A La Brasa that is a classic Peruvian rotisserie-style chicken that is quite flavourful. It was said that Pollo A La Brasa came from Lima, Peru’s capital city. What makes this dish special is that Peruvian made a special day called “Pollo A La Brasa Day” to celebrate their love for this dish. This festival is held every third Sunday of July.
To make Pollo A La Brasa, the raw chicken is soaked/marinated in the Peruvian authentic spices such as garlic, herbs, and spices and then grilled in a brick-lined rotisserie that is fired up with charcoal. This dish is usually served with green huacatay sauce and if you’re not too keen with spicy food, you shouldn’t worry since this sauce is not spicy at all.
8. Aji de Gallina
This dish at a first glance looks similar to Papa A La Huancaina, but this is different. Aji de Gallina is shredded chicken covered with a thick sauce made from cream, peanuts, cheese, and Aji Amarillo chili. This sauce has a mild yet savory taste. This dish is usually served with rice, steamed potatoes, and black olives.
It’s best enjoyed with a glass of dry white wine to balance the sweetness of the sauce. Be careful to not eat it too much since it has a high calorie as it contains high carbohydrates and fats.
Alfajores is a snack that could be a souvenir for relatives back home when you left Peru. this is a cookie sandwich with sweet caramel cream filling and sprinkled powdered sugar as a topping. This dish was found since the colonialism era and nowadays Alfajores becomes Peruvian’s most popular snack.
Not too different from any other biscuit that has dry and sweet textures, Alfajores also suits with a glass of coffee or hot chocolate. You can find Alfajores in almost all of the Peruvian cafes, bakeries, markets, and gift shops.
10. Pisco Sour
A special drink for a special day. The Peruvian national drink is Pisco Sour this drink even has its national holiday called “National Pisco Sour Day” and it is held every first Saturday in February. Pisco sour is a base for each liquor in Peru and it was made from lime extract, syrup, ice, egg white, and Angostura bitters. This combination is producing a strong yet nice and refreshing drink.
Almost every bar and restaurant are selling this drink. You will have no trouble finding it when you want to have a taste of this drink. Make sure you don’t miss the chance to taste this drink while you are in Peru
That’s all of our local food in Peru list that we can recommend for you. It might be just a small part of Peruvian authentic dishes and you can still explore many more dishes while you’re in this beautiful country. So, which one is your favorite Peruvian dish? Give us your opinion!
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