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!
The best dishes of traditional Peruvian food
- The history behind Peruvian Flavors
- Marine Peruvian food
- Criollo Cuisine
- Chinese Influence
- Grilled and Fries
- Peruvian food in Center Region
- Amazon Peruvian Food
- Arequipa, the south Peruvian food
- Cusco, the flavors of the Andean
The history behind Peruvian flavors
Peru is named the most representative South American cuisine around the world. Not for nothing, Its capital, Lima, is recognized as the Gastronomy Capital of South America (Due to its position inside the first 10 World’s Culinary Leading Destinations for 6 consecutive years). But this achievement did not come overnight, the Peruvian food and its gastronomy had to pass a large process of change, influences, and consolidation until these days.
It all started with the Incas (1438 – 1535), the ancient Peruvian empire that governed the Andean mountains, from the west lands of Colombia until the middle of current Chile, they had a diet composed of grain bases, like wheat, corn (Choclo), quinoa, Tarwi, kiwicha and a great variety of potatoes (more than 2500 types); products that could resist the hard change of a cold, dry and aggressive weather of mountain range. Also, they consumed meats (Mainly Alpaca, some fish) and dried meat, having the Chicha, an alcoholic beverage based on the fermentation of corn grains, as its traditional drink.
International influence and merges
With the arrival of Spanish conquerors, its colonization until the subsequent independence of Peru (1535 – 1821), the Andean and coast ingredients were merged with the style of new Mediterranean cuisine preparations. Resulting in the first examples of Criollo cuisine. So, this type of cuisine was born from slave hands who took advantage of the food rest that leave its Spanish patrons to cook over them, with inventiveness, new nutritive and tasty dishes for their families.
The Chinese immigration from 1850 (to replace the slave hand in cotton crops throughout the Peruvian coast and, consequently, the central region of Peru) brought Peruvian food cuisine color, new acid ingredients, and a unique mix of sweet and salty flavors. On the other hand, the Japanese immigration from 1899 represented the use of more marine ingredients and fish with fewer condiments and more vegetal in the Peruvian cuisines. However, the great Italian cuisine arrived at Peruvian coasts in 1876 with techniques of cooking and a new form of preparations that combined vegetables, olive oil, fresh bread, and pasta.
Now, imagine all these techniques of cooking, histories, ingredients, and flavors mixed in one country, the Peruvian gastronomy. But not, don’t imagine it and dare to know why each Peruvian food is unique and tasty around the world, lines below.
Marine Peruvian food
Japanese influence means taking advantage of the richness of the Peruvian sea (Variety of fish, shrimp, mollusks, octopus inter alia). All of them are macerated and finely seasoned. In these cases, the base of taste is the maceration. What is the name of this Japanese Peruvian cuisine? Nikkei cuisine.
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. Despite many countries in the region having their own ceviche dish, there is not something similar in taste and quality to Peruvian ceviche. Also, 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, chopped hot pepper, and salt (by 5 – 10 minutes) and then served immediately with lettuce salad with fresh onion slices, toasted (breaded and/or toasted corn kernels), and Cochayuyo (red algae that grow in cold water shores along the Peruvian coast). Although, due to its great influence throughout the country, there are numerous presentations with unique ingredients.
Where to eat Ceviche?
There are some great Peruvian seafood restaurants (Cevicherias) to try Ceviche in Lima and throughout Peru. You cannot miss this wonderful dish of traditional Peruvian food.
2. 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, although it does not necessarily contain milk in its preparation. An amazing dish to experience on your next vacation.
Where to eat Leche de Tigre?
Usually, Leche de Tigre is the perfect accompaniment to the Ceviche dish. Therefore, you can find it in Cevicherias, even in traditional markets (Peruvian food section) throughout all cities in Peru. Bon Appetite!
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 recommend you to try Jalea Mixta, a variety of breaded and fried fish and shellfish. Note that instead of fries, the Jalea plate includes fried Yucca. 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.
Where to eat Jalea?
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 Cevicherias and traditional markets on the northern coast of Peru.
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, resulting in a light and simple sauce. A delicious dish for summer days.
Where to eat Tiradito?
Like the other Marine dishes, Tiradito can be tasted in all Peruvian seafood restaurants and Cevicherias. However, the true specialists are the marine restaurants located in Lima and the north coast of Peru.
5. Sudado de Pescado (Steamed Fish)
Peruvian food cuisine has a variety of soups that were recovered importance with the entrance of Japanese people and their influence on gastronomy. Sudado de Pescado is one of them. This traditional Peruvian soup was revalued by Nikkei Gastronomy (Peruvian – Japanese gastronomy mix) around 1980 and, as its name indicated, the fish sweats to be steam cooked. Inside a pressure cooker, the fish sweat accompanied by yellow pepper, tomato, garlic, cilantro, and onion dressing.
In Peru north, the Chicha de Jora is usually included in the dressing. On the other hand, Wine or Pisco replace the Chicha on the south Peruvian coast. This traditional food is typically accompanied by cooked yucca. In zones like Chiclayo, Grouper, Grape Eye, or Tollo are the perfect type of fish to prepare it. In Lima, Lorna, Cojinova, Chita, or Corvina are the starfish of this Peruvian food. Dare to taste it!
Where to eat Sudado de Pescado?
Sudado de Pescado can be found in Cevicherias of all Peruvian cities. However, the Cevicherias, throughout all Peruvian coasts, are the real specialist of the dish. Also, its preparation is very easy, therefore, the dish is offered in the most important Peruvian marine ports and traditional markets of Peruvian coastal cities.
As we mentioned lines up, the Criollo cuisine was originated, in the Peruvian colony, from slave hands who wait for the food rest that their Spanish owners leave. Having these rests as ingredients, the Peruvian woman and its inventiveness reached to create tasty Peruvian foods that we, today, can be enjoyed. Even, the majority of these are served, as a daily diet, in all Peruvian houses. Being a rare occasion which you can find them in a tourist restaurant.
6. Cau Cau
The origin of its particular name has many theories. Some affirm that it comes from the Quechua language Acacau and means giblets and hot. Others indicate that Chinese immigrants, in the nineteenth century, used the Cacucau phoneme to indicate that the ingredients of stew had to be chopped into very small portions.
Others say that the name comes from another Quechua name Kau-Kau, and it referred to another ancient dish with fish eggs and seaweed (Cochayuyo), two ingredients that belonged to the original recipe and were lost in time. Be that as it may, the truth is that the dish comes from the hands of African slaves who came to Peru to work on the wine and cotton plantations.
The dish consists of tripe or chicken and white Peruvian potatoes. All of them were chopped into small cubes and cooked over a base stew of garlic, drumstick, onion, yellow pepper, chopped parsley, and mint. The preparation is accompanied by rice, as the majority of Peruvian food. An original Peruvian food.
Where to eat Cau Cau?
As we mentioned, Cau Cau is typical home food that is served in the majority of Peruvian houses. However, you can find it in Gastronomy fairs or restaurants destined for the local consumers.
7. 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 usually 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 over the rice bed. A true delight.
Where to eat Arroz con Pato?
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.
8. Tacu Tacu
Tacu Tacu is one of the traditional dishes of Peru that is usually made with rice and beans. It is a Creole food with a bit of Spanish, African, and South American influences. It is a dish of flavor and pronounced textures that are perfect to satisfy the appetite on a long day. Tacu Tacu is often prepared with beans stew and white rice, both mixed and fried in a frying pan for some minutes. The dish is served, still hot, and is accompanied by beef steak or fried egg. Although, its preparation may vary from one place to another. It is very easy to cook and has a wide variety of unique flavors. It is a very pleasant Peruvian food for those who try it for the first time.
Where to eat Tacu Tacu?
As the other Criollo Peruvian dishes, it can be tasted inside houses of Peruvian people, occasional gastronomy fairs, and traditional markets that include it as its daily menu.
9. 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 shredded chicken, bread, milk cream, olives, yellow pepper, and finely chopped onions cooked for 45 minutes approx. The resulting creamy past is served over potato slices (boiled separately) and accompanied by white rice and soft-boiled egg slices. There are many theories on how this unique dish came about. The sure thing is the women Peruvian slave created the dish, having as the base, discarded chicken rest from Spanish tables. However, nowadays, it is one of the most wonderful flavors of Peru and you really should try it.
Where to eat Ají de Gallina?
Like Arroz con Pato, it is a representative Criollo cuisine dish and can be served in Peruvian northern restaurants or Peruvian food sections inside traditional markets around the country. Needless to say about its preparation inside Peruvian kitchens.
10. Causa Rellena (Potato Casserole)
The famous Causa Rellena is a very popular dish of traditional Peruvian food. Peru has many varieties of potatoes, so you might expect many potato-based dishes. This is prepared with mashed potatoes, seasoned with lemon juice and salt. The mashed goes, in the form of thick sheets, between thick fillings with ingredients such as mayonnaise, tuna, avocado, celery, olives, or chicken. Most of the time, it serves as an appetizer and can be eaten with many sauces, especially hot ones.
Its name origin has many theories. One of them refers that Causa comes from the Quechua word Kausay and means “necessary sustenance” or “food”. Others indicate that Peruvian women, as a form of collaboration to the Cause of Peru independence, prepared this dish for the independence troops of General San Martin. The last theory indicates that, again, the Peruvian women, fed to Peruvian soldiers, in the middle of the Pacific battle against Chile, with this dish, to stand by the Peruvian Cause.
Where to eat Causa Rellena?
Causa Rellenas can be served in the best restaurants in Peru and Cevicherias, again gastronomy fairs and Criollo restaurants located in the majority of Peruvian cities.
11. Arroz con Pollo (Rice with Chicken)
Maybe, with Ceviche, the Arroz con Pollo can be the most representative Peruvian food. This is an important dish that forms the Peruvian daily diet, and its preparation is a tribute to the variety of spices that Peru has. On an additional note, the Arroz con Pollo shares the style of preparation with Spanish Paella but uses local and tasty ingredients. The rice chicken dams are cooked with diced carrot, bell pepper, capers, celery, shelled corn, green beans, onion, shelled corn, olives, and peas. All of them are mixed over a rice bed (Previously, the rice has to be seasoned with coriander, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf). The preparation is cooked for 30 minutes and, it is done!
Where to eat Arroz con Pollo?
Unfortunately, the Arroz con Pollo is traditional Peruvian food that only can be found in some gastronomy fairs and Criollo restaurants. We recommend you prepare this tasty food by yourself. You will not regret it!
Carapulcra is the Peruvian dish that intertwined the Aymaras people of the Altiplano mountains with the African culture located on the Peruvian coast south. First, Carapulcra was cooked by these people since ancient times. Even, they named this Peruvian food Qala Purka (In the Aymara language, means “stew made on hot stones”). The preparation consisted of a thick Alpaca meat soup with dried potatoes and little stones preheated, all of them cooked inside a saucepan. Carapulcra was the perfect Peruvian food to face the aggressive Altiplano weather, cold, dry and extreme frost.
In colonial times, the dish crossed the Peruvian territory from east to west, until the south coast of Lima, specifically to the Chincha region, where the majority of African slaves were situated (They worked in the wine and cotton fields located around). They included, to the preparation, extra ingredients that contributed flavor, spicy, and color to the dish. Even, the Carapulcra word was adapted to local Spanish language (Cara = dear / Pulchra = beauty) and the preparation was very similar to Aymara dish, with the difference of chicken and pork pieces that were included in a dressing of yellow peppers, clove, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper. All of them cooked in a giant saucepan with some preheated stones.
Where to eat Carapulcra?
The Carapulcra can be found in Peruvian food street trolley (located in every corner of the popular districts of Lima, from 6 to 11 pm). On the other hand, many Criollo restaurants located in Chincha offer this typical Peruvian food. Therefore, you have no excuse for not trying it.
13. Seco de Carne (Cilantro Beef Stew)
One of the traditional dishes of Peru north has the most chosen among the locals. The Seco de Carne or Seco de Res is a hearty beef stew. But despite being considered a stew, several ingredients set it apart from other meat stews. This recipe uses cumin, peppercorn, yellow peppers, the well-known Chicha de Jora (one of the most traditional Peruvian drinks), and coriander, two key ingredients in this dish. All of them, with the beef, are cooked in a pressure cooker, to simmer. The idea is to reduce the liquid quantity of mix, obtaining a green, thick stew. The Andean culture has used Chicha de Jora for hundreds of years. Either to refresh yourself or in the different traditional recipes. Used similarly to wine in certain stews, it gives it a characteristically acidic and pleasant flavor. This delicious stew can be served with beans and white rice.
Where to eat Seco de Carne?
This Peruvian food can be tasty in Criollo restaurants, accompanied by beans and white rice. Of course, if you have the opportunity to travel to the north of Peru, the majority of restaurants there offer this delight. Dare to prove it, you won’t regret it!
The Chinese immigration happened since 1850 and the Chinese people had very active participation through all historical processes of young Peru country. Being involved in the early historical processes of a country was crucial to be complemented, at all levels, with the culture of the local population. In this form, the Chifa cuisine (Chinese – Peruvian food) was born and originated with two main characteristics, vegetables, meats sautéed, and the combination of salty and sweet flavors. The result was a cuisine (Chifa) that was the second-largest expansion of restaurants in the entire region of Peru (after Pollo a la Brasa). Below, you will find the two most representative dishes.
14. Lomo Saltado (Stil Fried Beef)
There is nothing more Peruvian than the delicious Lomo Saltado. Lomo Saltado is considered 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 began to have a great influence on our country. Therefore, we can say that the Lomo Saltado is the best example of an international (Chinese) and a national (Peruvian) cuisine fusion, the Chifa.
This representative Peruvian food of Chifa cuisine consists of sliced steak, onions, tomatoes, French fries, and yellow pepper, all sautéed over a skillet with a base of oil, soybean sauce (Sillao), and finely chopped garlic. The secret technique is the saute of all these ingredients, even, some cooks let that the fire of kitchen burner invades inside the skillet, all a spectacle for someone who has the possibility of view its preparation. The dish is served with an accompaniment of white rice, even some restaurants include a fried egg. Amazing!
Where to eat Lomo Saltado?
You will see this dish daily on most Peruvian restaurant menus, in traditional markets, and at gastronomy fairs, across the country. Don’t miss out on trying this Peruvian wonder.
15. Arroz Chaufa (Chaufa Rice)
The classic accompaniment for all Chifa dishes is the Arroz Chaufa, and it is the main Plato of all Chinese-Peruvian restaurants around the country. The history tells that the Chinese cooks used to reuse leftover ingredients from the previous day’s restaurant menu to prepare their lunch (In a way to save on food costs for restaurant staff). In this sense, some vegetables like Chinese onions (scallions) and ginger were chopped and sautéed with white rice. Soybean sauce, oyster sauce, and sesame oil seasoned the mix inside a bowl. Similar to Lomo Saltado preparation, the secret of cooking was the form of sauteing. Separately, a beaten egg was frying, along with pieces of chicken and/or meat, and chopped into cubes. Undoubtedly, this Peruvian food is proof of a harmonious combination of two cuisines, separated by culture, but united by Peru’s geography.
Where to eat Arroz Chaufa?
The Arroz Chaufa can be tasted in the Peruvian Chifa restaurants. Don’t worry about where to find them. The Chifa restaurant is the second restaurant type more expanded around Peru cities (Only after the Pollo a la Brasa restaurants). So, bon appetit!
Grilled and Fries
Peruvian food is not just a mix, of fusions, and influence. It is much more. Pieces of meat, chicken, even some fish and mollusks over metal grills oiled and heated by coal or firewood. Properly seasoned with Maras salt (A typical Peruvian salt), chopped dried oregano, and black pepper result in a type of dish that everyone likes. Lines below, you will find the most representative Peruvian food of this category.
16. Pollo a la Brasa (Roasted Chicken)
What do the US and Peru have in common? Well, Pollo a la Brasa is the most consumed Peruvian food in both. This is undoubtedly one of the most famous traditional dishes of Peruvian gastronomy. 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 usually eaten together with well-known sauces and other spicy ones. The Peruvian recipe is used throughout the country.
History tells us that a Swiss called Roger Schuler arrived in Peru in 1940, and he began to raise chickens and sold them to subsist and find a better economic future. One fine day, he decided to put added value to what he sold and roasted a chicken over coals, fried some chopped potatoes, and done! He had a new dish, the Pollo a la Brasa. Nowadays, its restaurant “La Granja Azul” still attends to the Peruvian customers with the original recipe of Pollo a la Brasa.
Where to eat Pollo a la Brasa?
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.
17. Anticuchos (Grilled Heart)
The Anticucho is 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 at the colonial times (16th century) when the Spanish conquerors took advantage of the best pieces of beef for their consumption and leave leftovers to their servitude.
Years later, the form of preparation of the heart, kidney, and intestines of the beef passed to the Peruvian coast region where the recipe found its final style. It has been a traditional food of Peru for a long time. It is usually made with hearts cut into cubes. These are marinated in vinegar, cumin, chili, and garlic and then put on sticks to be roasted on charcoal grills. These are served on skewers and have potato or onion slices. They are a real appetizer 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.
Where to eat Anticucho?
The Anticuchos can be found in all cities and street food stalls. They are often served with a boiled potato and a spicy sauce called ají.
18. 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. Also, the trout of Peru is considered the best trout in the world. So, this trout is fried and seasoned with black pepper, served with white rice, potato fired, and vegetable salad. So we recommend you try this dish without exception.
Where to eat Trucha Frita?
Trucha frita can be tasted in local restaurants, traditional markets (Peruvian food section), and gastronomy fairs in Interior regions of Peru.
19. 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. This dish is some of the best Peruvian street foods available and is served with fried potatoes, parboiled corn kernels, and a salad made with fresh onion and peppermint. Its preparation is simple, you have to put the pork pieces in water with salt, celery, these marinated by few hours. After that, the pieces of pork are boiled. Finally, the meat, soft and tender, is fried in its own grease and done! This delight is ready to be served.
Where to eat Chicharrón?
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 (for breakfast). Also, the principal traditional restaurant offers it.
Peruvian food in Center Region
Gastronomy in the central region of Peru means using Andean grains like corn, quinoa, kiwicha, Tarwi, inter alia with the different types of potatoes and some kind of meat (for example Alpaca). As you will see, the majority of ingredients are boiled (Not fried) because, in the mountain range, the local people require Peruvian foods that retain most of their benefits (protein, calories) to face the hard and changing climates. Some of these dishes arrived in Lima and the main Peruvian cities and, today, can be tasted in different restaurants and traditional markets.
In the rural and Andean areas of Peru, there is an ancient tradition that is still practiced. The tradition says that the dish and its preparation is a tribute to earth (Pacha means earth and Manca is translated as pot or oven in the Quechua language) who gave to Peruvian Andean people the vegetables and food necessary to exist. Therefore, Pachamanca is prepared on special occasions and harvest time.
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. After these are put inside a hole dug in the ground, stones (previously heated with firewood) go in the hole bottom, following the ingredients and the preparation that has to be well wrapped by leaves. Finally, all the preparation is covered with dust. The preparation has to be cooked from 3 to 4 hours and done! You will have the best representation of biodiversity in Peru (by its ingredients), the Pachamanca.
Where to eat Pachamanca?
As you see, for its form of preparation, Pachamanca is one of the Peruvian national dishes that you cannot miss if you are going to visit the Andean regions of Junin and around. Also, the traditional markets, hotels, and restaurants located in altitude Peruvian cities like Huancayo, Cusco, Ayacucho offer it.
21. 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 yellow potatoes (Among 3000 potatoes variety that Peru has) served with a spicy, creamy yellow sauce made from cheese, milk, and yellow peppers, previously blended. This yellow sauce is called Huancaina, hence the name Papa a la Huancaina. It is one of the few traditional dishes of Peru that could be considered vegetarian, and it’s a tribute to the Peruvian potato and the yellow pepper that always give a touch of itching to all Peruvian foods. The history not is clear, but the dish has its origin in Huancayo, a central city of Peru, close to the Mountain Range.
Where to eat Papa a la Huancaina?
You can find this dish practically everywhere in Peru. It can be seen accompanied by olives, eggs, and crackers, and it is served as an appetizer for some other main course.
Amazon Peruvian Food
The Peruvian food in the Amazon region in Peru is particular. Most of the ingredients that participate in their cook are originals and autochthonous. This cuisine was not influenced by the predominant cuisine of the country, the coastal, and used its own ingredients that grew among trees, wooded areas, and bushes. Even, the meat of some exotic animals like monkeys, turtles, alligators are consumed there! But, rest assured, because they are responsible for its consumption. Below, you will find the two most representative dishes.
Juane is one of the most representative Peruvian food in the Amazon of Peru. The dish is prepared on special occasions and in the San Juan Bautista (Saint John Baptist) festivity on June 24th every year. This festivity gives its name to the dish, Juan, Juane. The preparation consists of white rice seasoned with local spices that can accept oregano, turmeric, boiled egg, and cumin. A piece of chicken goes in the middle of this preparation. All this is wrapped between Bijao leaves and put on boil inside a big casserole. The cook lasts 1 hour, and it is usually to be served with yucca and banana, both boiled too.
Where to eat Juane?
You can taste this delight around all Peruvian Amazon cities and Amazonian restaurants located in the principal cities of Peru.
Tacacho is another representative Peruvian food of Amazon. Its origin is situated in the north of the Amazon region of Peru, where local tribes boil the bananas. After that, they ground the cooked fruit in large stone mortars, obtaining a mass. This one is combined with pork pieces and butter, salt, and cumin. The cooks give to the mass the form of small balls that are served with chorizo and jerky (Beef salt meat). Usually, this dish is consumed for breakfast, and its flavor is unique. Even, some locals consume it, such as one of their favorite Peruvian desserts.
Where to eat Tacacho?
Similar to Juane. Tacacho can be found in all Amazon Peruvian cities and Amazonian restaurants around all Peruvian cities.
Arequipa, the south Peruvian food
If we talk about Peruvian cuisine, first, we have to talk about the gastronomy in the central and north coast, these are the most known for everyone. However, in the south of Peru, Arequipa is highlighted by its own gastronomy that combines ingredients from its sea, its mountain range, even from its coast. The result? A spectacular cuisine with dishes that, slowly, gain space in Peruvian kitchens and restaurants at the national level. Below, you have the most representatives of Arequipa dishes.
24. 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 many Peruvian farm families, who live on Mountain Range slopes, usually raise these animals and, on special occasions, the locals of Peru eat them. 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. Also, Cuy has healthy proteins and fats for humans. So, don’t let tenderness win you over and dare to prove them!
Where to eat Cuy Chactado?
This dish has become very popular throughout the country and people can find it everywhere. Traditional Peruvian south restaurants, called Picanterias, have Cuy as their main dish, as well as many tourist restaurants at the national level. Making it one of the best options for traditional Peruvian food.
25. 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 chopped meat and vegetables. They are baked with a delicious dough of milk and eggs that covers the pepper. One of the most delicious traditional dishes of Peru. Be careful with its intense flavor, the Peruvian peppers are 10 times spicier than a Jalapeño (pepper native of Mexico). Therefore, the first bite will be valuable proof for you. Passing this challenge, your enjoyment will not have a limit.
Where to eat Rocoto Relleno?
Rocoto Relleno can be found in Picanterias, traditional south markets like Arequipa, Cusco, and Tacna. Also, the Criollo restaurants located in the main cities of Peru offer it as an appetizer or accompany dish to another one.
Adobo is one of Arequipa’s favorite traditional dishes. Many people usually eat this dish for breakfast, on Sundays. Adobo could be considered as a spicy pork stew. It often 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.
Where to eat Adobo?
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.
27. Chupe de Camarones (Shrimp Chowder)
Chupe de Camarones is the most representative soup of Arequipa cuisine. This kind of Peruvian food comes from the Camana coast district and, nowadays, is a delight prepared only for special occasions, birthdays, and festivities around all Peru. The Shrimps are the kings here and its preparation consists of Shrimps (obviously), cream of milk, and cheese, with a base of fish broth, onions, eggs, garlic, and yellow potatoes.
This soup has to boil for a few minutes. After that, white rice, beans, carrots, and peas are included. A cook of 45 minutes more and well done! You have a succulent Chupe de Camarones. Even, many consider that this dish is equal in flavor to Peru national dish, Ceviche.
Where to eat Chupe de Camarones?
Chupe de Camarones is the best option for someone who wants to taste the best marine food in the Peruvian south. Therefore, the dish can be found in Picanterias, traditional markets of south Peruvian cities, even on the south marine ports. You have no excuses to not try it!
Cusco, the flavors of the Andean
Cusco is not only Machu Picchu, archaeological parks, adventure tours, or mystical walks. The gastronomy in the city is ancient and original, like Picanterias. These are traditional local restaurants where the native dishes are served accompanied by Chicha de Jora (Ancient Peruvian alcoholic drink in the base of corn fermentation) and the Picante (Chopped boiled potatoes covered by a Tarwi and red pepper cream). In this form, the dishes of the Cusco region are becoming relevant around all Peru nowadays with ingredients harvested on Mountain Range slopes and lines below, you will find its three most relevant dishes.
28. Capchi de Setas
If Arequipa (The other big Peruvian south city) has the Chupe de Camarones, Cusco has the Caphi de Setas. This traditional Peruvian food, a native of Imperial city, is a kind of thick soup made up of potatoes, green beans, eggs, milk, fresh cheese, mint, huacatay, paico, and Setas (fungi that grow only in rainy seasons. Specifically, in places where lightning struck). All of them are boiled for around 40 minutes. The result is a hearty soup that is served, only, in the rainy season (from December to March) and on special occasions like local festivities. Usually, this dish is served with white rice and Cuy. A real delight of the Inca’s capital.
Where to eat Capchi de Setas?
As we mentioned, this Peruvian food can be tasted only in festivities and some Picanterias during the Rainy season. If you are in Cusco this season, do not miss the opportunity to try it.
Maybe, the Chiriuchu is the most known Cusco dish around the country. This Peruvian food contains ingredients of the three natural regions; coast, mountains, and jungle. Its Quechua name means “Cold spicy”. The history says that after the Ayni (An Inca’s system in which every member of town or community participated in the construction of some public buildings like bridges, Tambos, inter alia) they share the best food of each one had in their houses.
In this form, a dish with a variety of ingredients and products of all Peruvian regions was born. Therefore, Ingredients like seaweed, egg cup, hen, charqui, black pudding are boiled. Others ingredients like a guinea pig, potatoes, corn fritter are fried separated. The last step is to put all the ingredients together in a dish and adorned it with cheese, toasted corn, and hot pepper. A Peruvian variety in one dish.
Where to eat Chiriuchu?
Usually, the Chiriuchu is served in the traditional Cusco festivity named Corpus Christi every June 16th (A religious holiday in which giant sculptures of 12 saints are taken out and paraded around the entire main square by porters). On this day, all Picanterias and stands, located in surrounding places of the main square, expend this dish accompanied by beer. Therefore, we recommend you visit Cusco this season.
30. Guiso de Tarwi (Tarwi Stew)
Tarwi is an Andean legume that is cultivated in Peruvian Andean cities like Cusco, Cajamarca, Huanuco, Junin, and Puno. It is considered as one of the Peruvian superfoods by its energy contribution. Between 2000 and 3800 meters above sea level. Its origin dates back to pre-Inca times, where cultures like Nazca and Tiahuanaco cultivated it. Cusco, as the origin place of this legume, prepares the Tarwi, blended it with cheese and milk. The mix is seasoned with butter, cumin, and ground garlic. This dish usually is served with white rice or it can accompany a plate of stew.
Where to eat Guiso de Tarwi?
Unfortunately, this is a just homemade dish and not very common to find in local restaurants, even Picanterias. However, if you have luck, during your take a walk through the traditional market of San Pedro, you can find it included in the menu of food stands located there.
“ONE CAN NOT 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.