The diverse geography of Peru, encompassing the Andes mountains, the Amazon rainforest, and the Pacific coast, has given rise to one of the most vibrant and distinctive culinary landscapes in the world. Embark on a delicious journey through Peru with these top food tips.
1. Dive into Seafood
Peru’s long Pacific coastline yields an abundance of seafood, making it an essential part of the local cuisine. Ceviche, the national dish of Peru, features raw fish marinated in citrus juices. Each region has its unique twist on the dish, and it’s an absolute must-try.
2. Savor the National Dish: Lomo Saltado
Lomo Saltado, a stir-fry that marries traditional Peruvian ingredients with Chinese flavors, reflects Peru’s rich cultural diversity. Made with beef, onions, tomatoes, fries, and served with rice, it’s a perfect comfort dish.
3. Explore Quinoa Dishes
Quinoa, a superfood native to the Andes, is a staple in the Peruvian diet. Quinoa soups, salads, and side dishes are prevalent, providing a hearty and healthy component to meals.
4. Experience the Power of Potatoes
Peru is the birthplace of the potato, with over 3,000 varieties grown in the country. Don’t miss the opportunity to try dishes like Causa (a layered potato dish) or Papa a la Huancaina (boiled potatoes in a spicy cheese sauce).
5. Try Traditional Soups and Stews
Soups and stews, such as Sancochado and Menestron, form an integral part of Peruvian cuisine. Served as a main course rather than a starter, these dishes are packed with meat, vegetables, and local spices.
6. Don’t Miss Anticuchos
Anticuchos, skewers of marinated and grilled meat, are a popular street food in Peru. While the traditional meat is beef heart, you can find variations with other meats. Served with boiled potatoes and corn, they are full of flavor.
7. Indulge in Peruvian Desserts
Peruvian desserts, like Suspiro a la Limeña (a caramel-like dessert topped with meringue) and Picarones (sweet potato and pumpkin doughnuts), are worth saving room for. You’ll find the perfect balance of sweet and satisfying in these treats.
8. Drink Like a Local
Peru is famous for Pisco, a grape brandy used in the national cocktail, the Pisco Sour. Also, try Chicha Morada, a sweet drink made from purple corn, or Inca Kola, the country’s favorite soft drink.
9. Understand Local Dining Etiquette
In Peru, meals are often a leisurely affair. Take your time, enjoy the flavors, and engage in conversation. Tipping is customary in restaurants, usually around 10%.
10. Embrace Food Markets and Festivals
Visit local food markets, like Lima’s Mercado Central, to see the diverse ingredients used in Peruvian cooking. Food festivals, like Mistura, provide opportunities to try dishes from different regions all in one place.
Remember, exploring Peru’s cuisine is not just about tasting new dishes but also about appreciating the history, culture, and regional diversity that have influenced its development. So, keep an open mind, expect some surprises, and prepare for a delectable adventure through Peru.