Peruvian gastronomy is one of best in the world! Prior to visiting Peru, I knew nothing about Peruvian dishes. I had heard about Ceviche and how people online raved of its deliciousness but I couldn’t imagine how Ceviche could taste. The moment my taste buds tried Ceviche, my whole life had changed. Peru offers not only one of the best food in the world but also the tastiest. What’s fascinating is the fusion between traditional Peruvian cuisine and other cultures of Japanese, Chinese, and Sub Saharan African Influence. Once I visited Peru, I discovered that the country offered more than just Ceviche. And I’m here to share with you some of these scrumptious and unique Peruvian food. Here are the 10 Peruvian dishes you must try before leaving Peru.
Peruvian Dish # 1: Ceviche
Peruvian Dishes: Ceviche
A lot of people have heard the word “Ceviche” and many others believe that Ceviche is from Mexico. However, Ceviche is originally from Peru. For those who have never tried Ceviche, you are missing out! Big time! So, what is Ceviche? Ceviche is fresh raw fish marinated with citrus juice (usually lemons and limes), onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and many other cooked seafood. I know what you are thinking, “eew raw fish!” Sushi is raw fish too *sips tea*. Jokes aside, Ceviche is actually different from Sushi. The acidity of the citrus juice cooks the fresh fish and cleanses it without heat. It’s a unique method that dates back to the times of the Inca.
I had Ceviche for the first time in Lima, Peru. What better place to have it than the seafood city that best produces it. Lima and many cities in Peru serve Ceviche but Chez Wong is the best in the world.
Peruvian Dish # 2: Lomo Saltado
Peruvian Dishes: Lomo Saltado (Chifa Style)
This is one of the Peruvian dishes with Chinese influences. This influence comes mainly from the stir fry method of cooking Lomo Saltado. Lomo Saltado is thin-sliced beef tenderloin, stirred with yellow Peruvian chilies, tomato, vinegar, and cilantro. This tasty meaty sauce is usually served with french fries or white rice.
Peruvian Dish # 3: Papas a la Huancaina
Papas a la Huancaina is a comfort food unique to Peru. The creamy yellow Huancaina sauce is made of fresh white cheese and Peruvian yellow chili. You can pour this yellow sauce on top of yellow boiled potatoes, boiled eggs, and olives. The Huancaina sauce can also be eaten with yucca, pasta, corn, risotto and many more.
Peruvian Dish # 4: Papas papas papas
Wikipedia:Potoates-Peruvian dishes- Peru
Papas aka Potatoes are life in Peru. Potatoes have also served as lifesavers for the world. There has been a long time misconception that Potatoes come from Ireland. I don’t know why we all thought this. Is it because one type of potato is called an Irish potato? I will never know, but the name “Irish potato” could have come up because of this historical past. See video below:
Potatoes are originally from Peru. They were cultivated and harvested by the Inca civilization. There are 4000 types and varieties of Potatoes in Peru and thousands of more dishes made from potatoes.
Now, this dish is solely for a brave heart. Cuy is the Quechua name for a Guinea pig. Yes! This is a delicacy in Peru. The Cuy is usually baked and stuffed herbs with boiled potatoes on the side. And there is Cuy Chactado, fried Cuy. This version is a bit harder to find than the baked Cuy. I didn’t try Cuy, but those who tried it said it tasted like any other meat.
Peruvian Dish # 6: Causa
Flickr: Peruvian Dishes- Causa Rellena-Mi Peru- Moquegua, Peru
This has got to be my favorite Peruvian dish. Causa is yellow mashed potatoes with lemon, yellow pepper, avocado, oil, salt, all modeled like a cake. It’s beautifully designed and tastes super delicious.
Causa comes from the Quechua word, Kausay, which means “what nurtures you” (Perudelights).
Peruvian Dish # 7: Queso con Choclo
Queso con Choclo is the perfect street food to enjoy while exploring the city. Choclo is Peruvian Spanish for Corn. This vegetarian Peruvian food consists of boiled corn with cheese placed on top. I’m tempted to write that the cheese melts on the hot corn, for literary pleasure and to make you salivate but the cheese usually used doesn’t melt. Instead, the saltiness from the fresh mozzarella cheese perfectly compliments the unsalted sweet corn. I enjoyed munching my Queso con Choclo. P.s. Peruvian Choclo is the biggest corn I have ever seen.
Peruvian Dish # 8: Anticucho
Another street food, I call this Peruvian dish South America’s Shish Kebab. Anticucho is cow’s heart seasoned with garlic, cumin, and pepper.
Peruvian Dish # 9: Chifa (Lima Specialty)
Flickr: Peruvian Dishes- Pollo en trozos con verdura- Hugo Ramirez – Peru
While I was in Lima, I kept seeing the word “Chifa” everywhere. As I mentioned before many Peruvian dishes today come from Chinese and Japanese influences. It is very apparent in the capital city, Lima. Whenever you see the word Chifa it is usually referred to as Chinese food, or Chinese inspired dishes. Chinese immigrants coming to Peru created the Wok and stir-fry food culture. These methods were incorporated into the Peruvian cuisine. A great example of this will be the Lomo Saltado and Arroz Chaufa.
Peruvian Dish # 10: Alpaca steak
Flickr: Peruvian Dishes- Alpaca Steak- Craig Nagy- Peru
Yes!, those fluffy Alpacas you see in an Alpaca farm or in Machu Picchu are also delicacies in Peru. Although you currently look horrified while reading this section, Alpaca meat is one of the healthiest and flavorful meats in the world. When seasoned well you’ll forget that you are actually eating an Alpaca.
Peruvian Drink #Bonus: Inka Kola
Peruvian drink: My beloved Inca Kola
Ok, so this isn’t a Peruvian dish but I just had to include Inka Kola on this list. Inka Kola runs through the veins of every Peruvian. You’ll find it in every restaurant, kiosk, and stall. It’s the best soft drink I’ve ever had. Although I have cut down on my soft drink intake, I couldn’t resist this one. Even if for some odd, impossible, unforeseeable, and unexplainable reason you didn’t try any of the dishes above, you MUST not leave Peru without sipping an Inka Kola.
p.s. Inka Kola doesn’t need to sponsor me for this statement.
I have never been to Peru but one of my best friends is Peruvian and she loves talking about her food. I have tried Ceviche and even if I am not a fan of raw food including sushi, I love ceviche and each time we go to Samba, a Peruvian restaurant in the heart of Manila, we always order for Ceviche. I will save this post so that next I go I can order for some of the dishes that you recommended. The drink looks refreshing and I can’t help but be curious how it really tastes.
Thanks for such a mouth watering post. Xx
Thanks for checking out my post. Yes, I agree with you Ceviche is delicious! I hope you get to visit Peru one day. Inca Kola tastes kinda like bubble gum, that’s the best way I can describe it. But you’ll have to try it yourself to know how it truly tastes like.
Love them all 💙 Ceviche and papa a la huancaina are my favorite. “Inka Kola runs through the veins of every Peruvian” haha that’s so true!
hahaha. Everyone loves Ceviche <3
This looks interesting, although I definitely could not do the Guinea Pig!
Fun article! In case you are wondering the cuy tastes like chicken thighs, very little meat, but tasty! If you ever make it back you should try Rocoto Relleno in Cusco. It is a pepper stuffed with just about anything, but commonly cheese, veggies, potato and sometimes meat, then breaded with a corn batter and cooked. They come in green and red (mildly spicy) and are amazing.
oooooh that sounds heavenly right now!
I love to try local foods when travelling! I’d definitely try ceviche and causa (this sounds really good and looks amazing!)
Ok I officially need to try Inca Kola :) it sounds amazing! I’d never have thought of Peru for having such amazing food!
Droolz! This post has reinvigorated my taste buds, making me long for Peruvian food (not to mention Peru). I loved trying alpaca with papas, washing it all down with Inca Cola – which, I agree, is amazing!! As a non-seafood eater, I did manage to try Ceviche and agree that it doesn’t taste fishy at all on account of the citrus. All around, a fantastic cuisine with something for everyone. Great overview! Next time I’ll have to try the Causa.
I love Peruvian cuisine and after reading your post you inspired me to book one of my favorite Peruvian restaurant in London. I have never tried alpaca steak though.
I love that potatoes are LIFE in Peru. I’d be more than OK there. I love potatoes…like a lot!
All dishes are amazing but I like Dish no 9 Chifa.
Some great dishes there! But did you find any halal versions of the meat dishes you mentioned?