8 ‘Must-Try’ Traditional Dishes of Peru
Similar to other cultures, Peruvian dishes are a rich combination of several influences, including Spanish and Chinese cuisine combined with traditional ingredients originating from Peru. Many tourists who visit the nation have the opportunity to try new versions of some old favorites and may just be surprised by their discoveries. Traditionally, Peruvian dishes include rice or potatoes (after all, Peru grows 4000 types of potatoes ) combined with different types of proteins like lamb, chicken, fish or pork. Depending on the region, dishes may include locally grown peppers, including the yellow aji or red rocoto variety. Here’s our list of Peru’s 8 must try:
Ceviche is a simple dish typically made from fresh raw local fish or any form of seafood which are marinated with the use of citrus juices like lime or lemon. You can opt to add chili peppers and seasonings like onion and salt. The dish is not cooked with heat rather with the citrus marinade. It’s served with avocado, sweet potatoes, lettuce or corn. You can try this dish at any region of the country however they are quite popular in the northern coast of Peru.
On a recent visit to the coast of Peru I tried chupe de camarones – or shrimp chowder. This traditional dish is stock soup of crayfish mixed with potatoes, chili pepper and milk. It reminded me a Thai soup and I was certain there was some Asian influence. This is a classic Peruvian shrimp chowder is indeed a meal in itself..
Dont be mis-led by its name, the origins of this popular dish lie in a region called Chosica in Lima and not Huancayo. We were served this almost every meal, when Miro and I stayed with our host Peruvian family when we first arrived in Lima. And we were hooked. The dish is named after a Huancaina (a person who hails from Huancayo) who first made this dish available to the people. (Thank you!!) It’s a simple dish made of potatoes boiled, sliced and served on a lettuce leaf. It is then topped with a hearty serving of spicy cheese.
Pollo a la Brasa is a classic Peruvian rotisserie-style chicken that’s quite flavorful. It is one of the most eaten dish in Peru finds its origins in the capital city, here in Lima. Pollo a la brasa has been declared by Peru’s National Institute of Culture “a culinary specialty” and is used by Peru’s census agency, the INEI to calculate the country’s monthly inflation. Here is Peru, there’s even a “Day of Pollo a la Brasa” which is the third Sunday in July. It’s that important. Pollo a la brasa is chicken that’s been marinated with many Peruvian ingredients (plus a little soy sauce), then roasted in a special brick lined rotisserie that is fired up with mesquite charcoal. Simple and oh, so delicious.
This is Miro’s contribution as I have never tasted this. Anticuchos is food very popular in the streets of Peru, which is where Miro has tasted it. In essence, it’s marinated grilled beef hearts served on a stick. He liked it, that should say a lot, since he’s not a big meat-eater.
Meat on a stick, meat on a stick, meat on a stick… say it with me, MEAT ON A STICK!
LomoSaltado can be found in every region throughout the country. It is a platter with sautéed onions, tomatoes and beef served with either french fries or rice, or sometimes both.LomoSaltado a fusion of Chinese and Peruvian flavors, which in Peru is referred to as “Chifa” cuisine. What makes the meal so special is the wine used for sauté which provides a rich unique flavor.
Cuy is another traditional dish recommend to try while in Peru. (Full disclosure: We haven’t tried it. Somehow, Miro and I can’t get over eating a former pet, but it’s a national favorite, so I thought I’d list it here. ) Cuy was believed that this cuisine originated from the Antiplano region. This dish is a guinea pig which I suspect tastes EXACTLY like chicken or rabbit. It’s usually offered barbecued or baked and served with hot sauce. It’s traditionally served on special occasions here in Peru, so let’s party!!!
And for my absolute favorite (besides ceviche of course): Causa is one of the most popular dishes all along Peru’s coast, including Lima. Besides being delicious, the traditional causa is fairly economic and easy to prepare. It includes potatoes with local spices, (remember all the potatoes here in Peru?), tuna from the ample Pacific Coast, and Peru’s plentiful supply of avocados. There are many variations both in the purée and in the fillings.
Wonderful step by step guide & recipe found at Peru’s Delights:“How could I ever imagine that some mashed potatoes with lemon juice, chili pepper, oil, and salt, molded like a cake, could ever turn into an appetizer of such perfect synergy? Causa didn’t sound extremely promising at first. But I obviously wasn’t acquainted with the one-of-a-kind ingredients of Peru, otherwise I wouldn’t have so readily doubted. This is the kind of dish of which you only need to take a bite, and it suddenly becomes perfectly clear why it is a big star in so many tables.”For more, please visit Peru’s Delights.
Peruvian dishes can vary according to its geography which has its own distinct taste. But, while in Peru, it would be very much exciting to sample something new and give in to the chance of embracing a different culture.
Join us taste all of these dishes, learn how make a few + more at our Project World School teen retreat:
About Project World School
Project World School International Retreats
Teens and young adults are invited to participate in one of Project World School‘s immersive learning events in 2015. Designed for homeschoolers, unschoolers and democratic learners alike, we offer immersive multi day retreats formed as a Temporary Learning Community. Each retreat utilizes the enigmatic landscape of each country as the canvas for exploration and discovery.
For the 2015-2016 season we will be producing retreats in Peru, Ecuador, Mexico, Guatemala and Argentina.
Each retreat focuses on a specific theme related to each of our host countries. Our learning communities merge immersive learning experiences with personal and social development focusing on global citizenship, cultural sensitivity, developing relationships, through exploring ethics and conflict resolution.
Participants both lead and follow in an atmosphere of dynamic co-creation and immersive discovery. Each day builds upon the last, with every exploration leading the group into uncharted directions. However, this is not your typical study abroad program. Project World School utilizes the power of a learning community to produce a project driven by goals, knowledge acquisition, and changes in a global perspective.
The majority of our events are designed specifically for teens and young adults. However we will be announcing a family retreat later in the year.