Warning: do not read this post while hungry! It’s no secret that the food in Peru is absolutely incredible. From the coastal regions, to the Amazon jungle, to the Andes, the diversity of the country brings with it an incredibly delicious and diverse set of food traditions, flavors, and styles. Lima, the capital of Peru is known as one of the top food destinations in the world. Peruvian cuisine and traditions from the indigenous population are blended with those of immigrants from Europe, Asia and West Africa to create a very yummy blend and fusion of flavor. Don’t step foot into Peru without trying at least one of these staple dishes!
Popular all over, but especially in the coastal regions, this national fish dish is certainly a must-try. You may have heard of or seen ceviche before, but it originated right here in Peru. It consists of cold corvina (sea bass) in a marinade of lime juice, onion, salt, and one of Peru’s favorite spices, aji (chili). It is usually accompanied by sweet potatoes, corn, or some sort of fresh salad.
Peru is home to the biggest selection of potatoes in the world. Potatoes are often woven into the everyday dishes of the nation, like this dish which is a fun fusion of culture. Lomo Soltado is a sort of stir fry of beef, vegtables like red onions and peppers, soy sauce, parsley, and spices. It is accompanied by rice and usually french fries or some sort of potato.
Typically seen as a street food but sometimes found in restaurants, this fast food is the perfect late night treat. Originating in Lima, the main ingredient in this dish is -you guessed it- potatoes! A cute play on words, this dish consists of french fries (papas) topped with sausage (salchicha) and sometimes eggs, it is always accompanied by a variety of yummy sauces and a great dish to share, or devour on your own.
Papa a la Huancaina
There are so many creative ways to eat potatoes in Peru. This very popular appetizer dish consists of a yellow potato variety, boiled and topped with a rich, cheesy and spicy sauce and usually accompanied by boiled eggs and lettuce.
A very popular dish to grab from a street vendor on the go or as a late night snack, anticuchos are found on most popular street corners throughout the country. They are skewers of grilled meat (usually beef or chicken) sometimes including potatoes.
Pollo a la Brasa
Nothing accompanies those tasty Peruvian potatoes quite like chicken. Pollerias (poultry shops) can be found throughout the country like McDonalds. Pollo a la Brasa is just blackened chicken, usually accompanied by french fries or potatoes, and always given a kick with a nice array of sauces. This is probably the most frequently consumed dish in Peru, and when you try it you will understand why!
A more adventurous dish to try, cuy (guinea pig) is very popular in the Andean regions of Peru. The meat is said to taste like a rabbit, and although it may seem strange for people in other countries who keep guinea pigs as pets, it is quite normal in Peru where there is an abundance of wild cuy. Cuy is usually roasted or fried whole (skin and all) and served on top of a bed of lettuce or with -you guessed it- potatoes.
Causa is what I love to refer to as potato sushi. It is a very popular appetizer dish with all sorts of yummy variations. It consists of yellow potatoes, blended in oil, lime, and aji and layered in between various fillings like hard-boiled eggs, olives, and various meats.
Another street delicacy, picarones are the perfect treat for anytime. Made by frying usually sweet potatoes or squash, and smothered in chancaca syrup. You can pretend you are eating a healthier, Peruvian version of a donut when you splurge on these sweet rings of fried gooey joy.
This traditional Peruvian cookie melts in your mouth and is love at first bite! Made with cornstarch, the smooth and crumbly cookie sandwich consists of a sweet a gooey center of Dulce de Leche and is often sprinkled with powdered sugar.
This rolly cake has a spongy texture filled with Manjar Blanco and topped with powdered sugar. It can be found almost anytime of day at the nearest bakery and is socially acceptable to eat as a desert or as a “just because” treat.
Torta de Tres Leches
This sponge cake is made with -you guessed it- three different kinds of milk. Made by bathing the cake in a lovely mixture of condensed, evaporated, and heavy milk, this torta is more pudding than cake. Torta de Tres Leches is the perfect, sweet and light way to end any meal.