Well endorsed as the culinary capital of South America, Peru boasts a gastronomy scene making foodies weak at the knees since around 2010 when its reputation really started to soar.
Here are some quintessential Peruvian dishes and drinks that you absolutely have to try when visiting the home of the Incas.
Leading the list is Peru’s unofficially official national dish. Peruvians are so besotted with their raw fish speciality that they have a national day dedicated to it on June 28 each year.
There are a number of ingredients that can be included in ceviche but, for me at least, the simpler the better. That means lime juice, salt, coriander (cilantro), red onion and cancha or canchita, toasted corn kernels, a popular garnish in South America which gives the dish a beautiful crunch.
You’ll commonly find ceviche served on or alongside sweet potato. Yum!
Lomo saltado is a mainstay of any traditional Peruvian restaurant. It’s essentially a stir-fry made with strips of meat, often beef but very commonly alpaca too, onions and tomato. Served with rice and/or French fries.
Rocoto is a type of red pepper and relleno means ‘stuffed’ in Spanish. Therefore, we have peppers with a mince stuffing and melted cheese on top. These are a Peruvian favourite and found aplenty in Arequipa. Warning: can pack a punch!
Don’t be perturbed by the literal translation here which is ‘cheese ice cream’. This sweet treat is thankfully named for its appearance not its ingredients and is actually more like a sorbet made from coconut, milk and cinnamon. Commonly found on the streets of Arequipa.
Another sweet treat that you’ll also often see sold as a street food snack, picarones are fried rings of sweet potato dough covered in a sticky fig syrup.
Like Bolivia’s api, chicha is a red juice made from fermented purple corn. It is delicious and can be found on nearly all drinks menus nationwide.
Is it from Chile or is it from Peru? Both countries lay claim to this delightful cocktail but regardless Peruvians consider the pisco sour to be their national drink.
Made simply from pisco, lime and egg white, these are dangerously addictive and after only two you’ll be on your way to a good night.
Ahhh Peruvian food - take me back!