At the World Travel Awards, Peru has been chosen as the leading culinary destination in the world for five consecutive years. A magnificent feat when you consider that it was just a little over 10 years ago that the Peruvian food movement gained momentum. With the gastronomic boom, the reinvention of how food is prepared is due to a group of chefs with a vision of the future. They have brought Peruvian cuisine to the world stage with a mix of traditional Peruvian food and a mix of different food cultures to what we see in the many wonderful Peruvian restaurants today. For this reason, together with our colleagues from Machu Travel Peru, we have prepared a small article about the best traditional Peruvian food dishes. Learn a little more about traditional delicacies!
WHERE TO TASTE ALL THE FOOD
If you are looking to try the best traditional Peruvian food dishes, Lima is an excellent start. Lima is full of wonderful places to eat. There are many fine-dining restaurants dotted around the city, most of them in Miraflores, the trendy coastal suburb. However, if fancy restaurants aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other alternatives. Try some of the Peruvian street food available in many of the corners of Peru. If you want to experience some real local food, go to the local market. The markets always have stalls selling bargain-priced lunches. The food will be good and rest assured that you will leave on a full stomach. Don’t miss out on Peruvian gastronomy, you can find it in all corners of the country.
The best dishes of traditional Peruvian food
- Lomo Saltado (Stir Fried Beef)
- Ají de Gallina (Creamy Chicken)
- Cuy Chactado (Guinea Pig)
- Rocoto Relleno (Stuffed Spicy Peppers)
- Causa Rellena (Potato Casserole)
- Anticuchos (Grilled Heart)
- Tacu Tacu
- Leche de Tigre (Tiger’s Milk)
- Papa a la Huancaina (Potatoes in Spicy Cheese Sauce)
- Trucha Frita (Fried trout)
- Arroz con Pato (Rice with duck)
- Pollo a la Brasa (Roasted Chicken)
- Seco de Res (Cilantro Beef Stew)
- Chicharron (Fried Pork Rind)
- Other dishes
LOMO SALTADO (STIL FRIED BEEF)
There is nothing more Peruvian than the delicious Lomo Saltado. Lomo saltado is one of the most delicious and essential fusion food dishes to try if you ever visit Peru. The history of this dish goes back to the time when Chinese cuisine had a great influence on our country. As with other Peruvian dishes, this dish was born from a mix of influences and cultures. This traditional Peruvian food dish consists of sliced steak, onions, tomatoes, French fries, and yellow pepper. You will see this dish daily on most Peruvian restaurant menus across the country. Don’t miss out on trying this Peruvian wonder.
AJÍ DE GALLINA (CREAMY CHICKEN)
Another of the traditional Peruvian food dishes that you cannot miss. Aji de Gallina is a dish of a delicious mixture of chicken, bread, potatoes, olives, and egg combined with a creamy cold sauce and served with rice. There are many theories on how this unique dish came about. However, it is one of the most wonderful flavors of Peru and you really should try it.
If you are on the coast of Peru, you must try the renowned and popular Peruvian ceviche. Ceviche may be the dish that has made Peru known throughout the world. According to some historical sources, ceviche originated about 2,000 years ago with the Moches, a pre-Inca culture on the coasts of Peru. Peruvian ceviche is prepared differently from the rest of South America. The fish is marinated in lemon juice and then served immediately. Although due to its great influence throughout the country, there are numerous different presentations with unique ingredients. There are some great Peruvian seafood restaurants to try Ceviche in Lima and throughout Peru. You cannot miss this wonderful dish of traditional Peruvian food.
In the rural and Andean areas of Peru, there is an ancient tradition that is still practiced. The Pachamanca is one of the traditional Peruvian food dishes prepared in the heat of preheated stones. Vegetables, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beef, pork, chicken, and guinea pig are previously seasoned to give a unique flavor. It is one of the Peruvian national dishes that you cannot miss if you are going to visit the Andean regions of Cusco and around.
CUY CHACTADO (GUINEA PIG)
The delicious Cuy is a very traditional dish in the mountains of Peru. If you have a pet guinea pig, you may not like this suggestion. But on special occasions, the locals of Peru eat baked guinea pigs. The Cuy is a guinea pig that is baked in a wood oven. Although it can also be served fried or roasted with potatoes, accompanied by noodles and stuffed peppers. This dish has become very popular throughout the country and people can find it everywhere. Some restaurants have Cuy as their main dish, making it one of the best options for traditional Peruvian food.
ROCOTO RELLENO (STUFFED SPICY PEPPERS)
The Rocoto Relleno is another great dish of traditional Peruvian food that you cannot miss. These consist of roasted bell peppers that are stuffed with meat and vegetables. They are baked with a delicious dough that covers the pepper. One of the most delicious traditional dishes of Peru.
CAUSA RELLENA (POTATO CASSEROLE)
The famous Causa Rellena is a very popular dish of traditional Peruvian food. Peru has many different varieties of potatoes, so you might expect many different potato-based dishes. This is prepared with mashed potatoes and different fillings that include a variety of ingredients such as tuna or chicken. Most of the time, it serves as an appetizer and can be eaten with many sauces, especially hot ones. Another tasty potato dish is Papa Rellena, a mashed potato stuffed with meat and vegetables that are fried, a delight for the tongue. After the different tours in Peru, be sure to try this Peruvian delicacy.
ANTICUCHOS (GRILLED HEART)
The Anticuchos are beef heart diced and then put on sticks to be roasted. They can be found in all cities and street food stalls. They are often served with a boiled potato and a spicy sauce called ají. The Anticucho is a Peruvian street food that you have to try during your visit. This delicious typical food of Peru had its origin in the regions of the Andes. It has been a traditional food of Peru for a long time. It is made with hearts cut into cubes. These are marinated in vinegar, cumin, chili, and garlic and then grilled. These are served on skewers and have potato or onion slices. They are a real aperitif to try in the afternoon.
Today, many Chefs have reinvented this dish and use other cuts of meat in addition to the heart. You can see chicken anticuchos and other meat cuts, but the real Anticucho is made from the heart.
Tacu Tacu is one of the traditional dishes of Peru that is made with rice and beans. It is a Creole food with a bit of Spanish, African, and South American influences. A dish of flavor and pronounced textures that are perfect to satisfy the appetite on a long day. Usually prepared with beans, although its preparation may vary from one place to another. It is very easy to prepare and has a wide variety of unique flavors. A very pleasant dish for those who try it for the first time.
LECHE DE TIGRE (TIGER’S MILK)
Leche de Tigre is often confused with the delicious leftover juice from Peruvian Ceviche. But this is not entirely accurate. Leche de Tigre is prepared with a very delicious fish broth. This one has lemon juice, salt, pepper, and a little spice. Different chefs add baked corn kernels, fish, and shrimp to a cocktail glass. All in an attempt to complement the delicious marinade and thus give rise to the Leche de Tigre.
Many Peruvians believe that Leche de Tigre is an aperitif that will restore your energy. Many even believe that it is an aphrodisiac. Leche de Tigre is white in color, although it does not necessarily contain milk in its preparation. An amazing dish to experience on your next vacation.
PAPA A LA HUANCAINA ( POTATOES IN SPICY CHEESE SAUCE)
Papa a la Huancaina is one of those popular appetizers among the people of Peru. This dish consists of boiled potatoes served with a spicy, creamy yellow sauce made from chili peppers. The yellow sauce is called Huancaina, hence the name Papa a la Huancaina. It is one of the few traditional dishes of Peru that could is really vegetarian. You can find this dish practically everywhere in Peru. It can be seen accompanied by olives, eggs, and crackers.
Tequeños are one of the most recognized and famous Peruvian delicacies. Unlike the tequeños of Venezuelan origin, the Peruvian variant is prepared with wonton wrappers. In addition, they use fresh cheese for the filling. They are great to eat with friends. They are usually dipped in guacamole sauce or hot chili sauce. You will see them commonly in any of the bars in Peru, especially in Lima. They are the perfect snack to enjoy with a beer on a summer night.
Jalea could be thought of as the equivalent of fried chips and fish. It is one of the seafood dishes most chosen by the inhabitants of Peru. We advise you to try Jalea Mixta, a variety of breaded and fried fish and shellfish. Note that instead of fries, the Jalea plate includes fried Yuca. But this one is no less delicious than the Peruvian potatoes.
The jelly is generally accompanied by Salsa Criolla (Creole Sauce) or Salsa De Ají (Spicy Sauce). The spicy and citrus flavor goes great with fried fish. If you plan to travel to the Peruvian coast, this is one of the most popular traditional dishes. Especially if you plan to visit the northern coast of Peru.
TRUCHA FRITA (FRIED TROUT)
Fried trout is a traditional dish typical of the Andes of Peru. The Andes Mountains provide different bodies of freshwater where trout can easily breed. And in many Andean regions, it is common to see trout farms. Even Peru is one of the largest exporters of rainbow trout. The trout of Peru is the best trout in the world. So we recommend you try this dish without exception.
Adobo is one of Arequipa’s favorite traditional dishes. Many people usually eat this dish for breakfast, on Sundays. Adobo is a delicious spicy pork stew. It usually consists of pork in a delicious sauce flavored with Ají panca, Chicha de Jora, and other spices. Many countries like the Philippines, Mexico, and Puerto Rico also have dishes with the name Adobo. However, the ingredients and meat used in the marinade vary from country to country.
You can find Adobo in any Picanteria in Peru. But the most common is to find this dish on Sundays. This is eaten with bread for breakfast. One of those dishes that will satisfy you and give you energy for the whole day.
ARROZ CON PATO (RICE WITH DUCK)
Arroz con Pato or Rice with Duckis a Creole recipe with great Spanish influences. This star dish in Peru is a classic among its locals. Rice is cooked with herbs, coriander paste, and dark beer. This way of preparation gives a pronounced earthy flavor to the rice. Then a roasted duck thigh or leg is added which has a truly crunchy texture. The dish is so popular that you can find it at any of the Peruvian family tables. They are even served in the best restaurants in Lima, as part of the different traditional dishes of Peru.
POLLO A LA BRASA (ROASTED CHICKEN)
This is undoubtedly one of the most famous traditional dishes of Peru among the locals. Peruvian-style roasted chicken, known as Pollo a la Brasa, is incredibly popular in our country. The key is to marinate the chicken in a special sauce. This soy sauce features red bell peppers, garlic, and cumin that give the chicken a smoky, delicious flavor. These marinated chickens are typically cooked over hot coals and served whole.
They are accompanied by French fries and fresh or cooked salads. In addition, it is eaten together with well-known sauces and other spicy ones. The Peruvian recipe is used throughout the country. Although this dish is very common within Pollerías (chicken restaurants), a similar flavor can be achieved at home. Whether you cook it on the grill or in the oven.
Nikkei cuisine combines two of the best cuisines in the world. Nikkei cuisine is characterized by having Japanese and Peruvian influences. And among the most characteristic dishes of this culinary trend is the Fish Tiradito. It is also known by the simple name of Tiradito. Usually, this seafood dish has raw fish cut into very thin strips, like Japanese Sashimi. It is accompanied by a spicy and citrus sauce that enhances the flavor of the fish. The sauce is prepared with lime, yellow pepper, garlic, and coriander that result in a light and simple sauce. A delicious dish for summer days.
SECO DE CARNE (CILANTRO BEEF STEW)
One of the traditional dishes of Peru most chosen among the locals. The Seco de Carne or Seco de Res is a hearty beef stew. But despite being a stew, several ingredients set it apart from other meat stews. This recipe uses the well-known Chicha de Jora and coriander, two key ingredients in this dish. The Andean culture has used Chicha de Jora for hundreds of years. Either to refresh yourself or in the different traditional recipes. Used in a similar way to wine in certain stews, it gives it a characteristically acidic and pleasant flavor. This delicious stew is served with beans and white rice.
CHICHARRÓN (FRIED PORK RIND)
Chicharrón is a classic dish made with fried pork belly. It is one of those unhealthy but classic dishes among Peruvians. It is a highly tasty dish that you can find in any corner of the country. Either in street carts that sell only Chicharrón or others that sell it in the form of a sandwich. This popular street food is one of the best ways to taste the flavor so characteristic of Peru. One of the dishes that you have to try at least once during your visit. This dish is some of the best Peruvian street foods available.
There are many more dishes that you must try and each region has its specialties. Food in the jungle is a very different experience from the rest of Peru. Something traditional from the jungle that you must try is the chicken that is cooked underground in banana leaves. If you like sweets, look for the Picarones. This is a fried mixture of sweet potatoes and flour served with a honey sauce. You will see women selling Picarones on the street so try and enjoy one of the best Peruvian desserts.
As part of Peru’s healthy superfood fuel for your body, you must try Quinoa for breakfast. It is sold on the street in the mornings and is a very common breakfast. This warm and sweet drink is not only great but also good for you. Maca is another alternative for breakfast and is again another well-known Peruvian superfood.
“ONE CANNOT THINK WELL, LOVE WELL, SLEEP WELL IF ONE HAS NOT DINED WELL.”
As you can see, Peru has a lot to offer in terms of traditional Peruvian food. Do not miss these delicious dishes that give so much to talk about in the world. Tour the Andean country and its many traditional delicacies. We hope together with Machu Travel Peru to have been helpful. If you want to know more about our tours, you can consult with our advisors.