Peruvian food is into fashion. Our gastronomy is taking over the world! It seems that Peruvian restaurants are popping up in all major cities around the world and famous chefs are praising various Peruvian dishes. We won’t argue with that of course. There is so much variety: Andean and Amazonian dishes, seafood from the coast, Lima’s creole food, Peruvian Chinese food, fusion etc. There are too many delicious dishes to name them all, but we asked some of our team members which Peruvian dish is their favorite.
Not a fan of sushi or raw fish at all, I have to admit I was a bit scared to try ceviche the first time. Although ‘cooked’ in lime, the fish keeps its raw texture. But already after the first bite, I knew this was gonna be my favourite Peruvian dish!!! There is something about the combination of the lime and salt, with the fresh fish of the Pacific Ocean that just keeps me enchanted. The best ceviche so far I had in the Surquillo Mercado at the foodstand of señora Rosa (on our market and food tour). She makes wonderful, fresh ceviche of mixed seafood, right in front of your eyes. You can even pick the your own seafood and fish for her to prepare! For some of you the squid, shellfish or snails might seem a bit adventurous, but I can assure you, once they’re in your mouth, they might be the most beautiful animals in the world to you. One advice, though: when eating ceviche, make sure to find a place where they only serve really fresh fish, but along the coast of Peru that should not be a problem.
My favorite Peruvian food by far is ´causa rellena con atun´ (causa with tuna filling). I´m a big fan of yellow potatoes and fish. These two ingredients are combined in this dish creating the best combination ever! On top of that the amazing Peruvian chili ´aji amarillo´ adds the spicy flavor that I always try to find in Peruvian food.
That’s a hard question! I mainly eat vegetarian and even though in Lima it sometimes seems difficult in restaurants outside the tourist areas to find a vegetarian dish, there are really plenty of options in Peruvian cuisine. Just like Deivis, my absolute favorite is causa. It’s part of the creole cuisine that you mainly find in Lima and along the entire coast really. Causa is one of these hybrid dishes: a combination of the ancient potato (mashed and put in layers with fillings inbetween), avocado and aji amarillo (yellow chili) that are all native to Peru, and the lime, garlic, and chicken or tuna imported from Europe. I personally prefer it with avocado filling instead of chicken, tuna or crab salad. As an almost-vegetarian, I am of course also very fond of any dishes with quinoa, lentils, barley or other Andean grains. As a starter, I choose ‘choclo con queso’ or corn with cheese. This might not seem very appealing, but the corn is huge in Peru and the cheese very salty and artisanal. The combination of the two is just perfect (and cheap!)
I like lomo saltado, because it’s very easy to make and it’s hard to mess up. It’s always delicious if you make it with good quality meat. Besides the meat, it also has onion, tomato, french fries, fried yellow chili and a basic garlic dressing. I really love all our native potatoes and am really proud of those as well. I’m originally from Huancayo in the Andes and we grow up eating ‘cuy’ or guinea pig on special occasions. For instance for Christmas, we didn’t have turkey but guinea pig instead. It’s so delicious and visitors to Peru should try it at least once!
I’ve lived in different parts of Peru because my family moved a lot for my father’s job when I was young and one of my favorite dishes was locro. It is a hearty thick stew from the Andes and has corn, beans and a specific kind of native potato called papa chola with a unique taste. It can be made with any kind of meat, but personally I prefer it with beef. Very tasty and healthy! As a snack or appetizer, I really like anticuchos. It doesn’t sound very appealing to many foreigners because it’s beef heart marinated, skewered, and seared over the grill, but it’s truly delicious. Just give it a try, I assure you, if you like meat, you’ll love this. When I was studying in Australia, where they eat kangaroo by the way, I brought anticuchos once to a BBQ. I didn’t tell them exactly what it was until after they tried. Everyone loved it (and not too upset after I told them which meat it was).
We also asked our friend and foodie Connie from Lima te Llena. Wondering what the favorite dish is of a specialist? She told us she’s especially fond of carapulcra, a Peruvian cuisine stew of pork and dehydrated potatoes, with peanuts, aji panca and mirasol peppers, garlic, and other spices.
Would you like to know more about Peruvian food? Check out our food tour Full-Day Food and Socio-Cultural Tour in Lima that we operate in cooperation with food specialists Lima te Llena. Make sure you go to the tour with an empty stomach!