Peruvian cuisine is a rich tapestry woven from diverse cultural influences, from the indigenous Inca traditions to Spanish, African, Chinese, and Japanese flavors. When you visit the beautiful city of Cusco, the gateway to Machu Picchu, you’re not just exploring a city steeped in history. On the contrary, you are also embarking on a culinary adventure like no other. Join us on a journey through the tantalizing world of Peruvian food and discover what to eat in Peru before or after the Inca Trail.
Description: Ceviche is Peru’s national dish, a refreshing and zesty seafood salad made with fresh fish or seafood, lime juice, onions, and cilantro. It’s often served with sweet potato and corn.
Interesting Fact: Ceviche is typically “cooked” by the acid in the lime juice, giving the seafood a unique texture and flavor.
2. Lomo Saltado
Description: This stir-fry dish blends Chinese and Peruvian flavors, featuring strips of beef, onions, tomatoes, and french fries, all seasoned with soy sauce and vinegar. It’s usually served with rice.
Interesting Fact: Lomo Saltado is a delicious example of Peruvian-Chinese fusion cuisine known as “chifa.”
3. Papa a la Huancaina
Description: A classic Peruvian appetizer, this dish consists of boiled yellow potatoes covered in a creamy cheese and yellow chili pepper sauce, garnished with hard-boiled egg and olives.
Interesting Fact: “Huancaina” refers to a person from the city of Huancayo, known for its delicious cheeses.
Description: Anticuchos are skewers of marinated and grilled beef heart, often served with potatoes and a spicy peanut sauce.
Interesting Fact: This dish has its roots in the Inca Empire, where it was prepared with llama or alpaca meat.
5. Rocoto Relleno
Description: Rocoto Relleno is a spicy pepper stuffed with a flavorful mix of ground meat, vegetables, peanuts, and cheese, baked to perfection.
Interesting Fact: Rocoto peppers are known for their fiery heat, but their seeds and veins can be removed to reduce spiciness.
6. Aji de Gallina
Description: A creamy chicken stew made with aji amarillo (yellow chili pepper) sauce, milk-soaked bread, and served with rice and boiled potatoes.
Interesting Fact: Aji de Gallina has its roots in Spanish cuisine but has evolved into a uniquely Peruvian dish.
7. Quinoa Soup (Sopa de Quinua)
Description: Quinoa, a superfood native to the Andes, is the star of this nutritious soup, often prepared with vegetables, chicken or beef, and herbs.
Interesting Fact: Quinoa has been a staple in the Andean diet for thousands of years, packed with protein and essential nutrients.
Description: Causa is a layered dish made with mashed yellow potatoes seasoned with lime and chili, filled with various ingredients like tuna, chicken, or avocado.
Interesting Fact: Its name comes from the Quechua word “kausay,” meaning “sustenance” or “life.”
9. Choclo con Queso
Description: A simple yet delightful dish, Choclo con Queso features large, tender corn kernels (choclo) served with fresh cheese.
Interesting Fact: Choclo corn is known for its massive kernels, a result of selective cultivation by the Incas.
Description: For dessert, indulge in Picarones, sweet potato and squash doughnuts, deep-fried to perfection and served with a sweet syrup made from molasses.
Interesting Fact: Picarones have their origins in the Moorish cuisine of Spain and were adapted to Peruvian tastes.
Reading tip: Best Restaurants in Cusco.