Peru is a country where many of the ingredients that are used around the world originated, and visitors exploring this diverse country will find a wonderful range of ingredients and dishes that are commonly available. The diet varies depending on the surroundings, with fish playing an important role in the coastal and Amazon areas, while those living in the Andes have a very different diet. A trip in Peru is an adventure for the taste buds as well as being a more traditional adventure too.
Fish and Seafood Dishes
The rich waters of the Pacific offer great hunting grounds for the Peruvian fishermen, and the wide range of dishes created using these ingredients can be enjoyed along the coast. Ceviche is one dish which has become popular across South America, and involves pieces of raw fish that have been marinated in a blend of chili peppers, onions and lime juice. Another popular dish is Chupe de Camarones, which is a tasty soup made with shrimp, potatoes, milk and chillies.
Chicken, beef and pork are all common in Peruvian cuisine, although in different parts of the country you will also find dishes that include alpaca, guinea pig and even turtle meat in the Amazon region. Pollo a la Brasa is a common chicken dish that is found across much of the country, and is the meat of a chicken which is marinated before being cooked on a spit roast or in hot coals. In the northern coastal areas, Shambar is a popular soup that includes smoked ham and pork rinds along with beans and green onions, while Secod de Cabrito is a thick stew usually made with goat meat.
Anticuchos are a popular snack served from carts in many towns and cities, and are skewers of marinated chunks of beef heart, which are then barbecued and served with bread or boiled potatoes and sauces. Tamales are another popular street food made of a corn dough and stuffed with meat, cheese and vegetables, with a kick of spice either from chilli or a sauce, and are baked in a leaf wrapper which is then discarded after eating.
The majority of the desserts that are served and eaten in Peru originate from Spain and were brought to the country during the colonial era, although some do make good use of local ingredients. Alfajores is a popular dessert made from two layers of sweet pastry that are then stuffed with molasses or a sweet creamy caramel filling known as manjar blanco, before being dusted in sugar. Ice cream is also popular in Peru, and the lucuma flavored variety is distinctly Peruvian, as it is flavored with the lucuma fruit which has been grown in Peru for several hundred years.
The Pisco Sour is a cocktail which is widely considered to be the national drink of Peru, and is a blend of Pisco brandy, egg whites, lime juice and syrup, and there is even an annual holiday where the Pisco Sour is celebrated. Another distinctive drink that is hugely popular in the country is Inca Kola, which is a sweet yellow soda flavored with the local plant lemon verbena that is more popular than any of the international soda brands in Peru.