Peruvian Food: The Essentials

Ceviche is very popular in Peruvian cuisine

Today’s guest post comes from Maria Kruk from

Peruvian Cuisine is steadily conquering the restaurant market. It’s associated with having the best chefs from all over the world and the choice of fresh ingredients and variety of immigrant traditions – such as Spanish, African, Chinese, or Japanese – have created one of the world’s most unique and delicious cuisines.

Peruvian food is incredibly diverse in each region, food like Ceviche (above) is one of the most well-known dishes, but listed below are some of the most traditional and easiest dishes to find in restaurants in Cusco too.

Popular food in Peru

Papa a la Huancaina: Sliced boiled potatoes covered in a cheesy yellow sauce (with Turmeric) served on top of lettuce. This dish is usually garnished with a quarter of a hard-boiled egg and sometimes with olives as well.

Anticuchos: Skewered meat (brochettes) sold everywhere on the streets and in restaurants as well. Don’t forget to choose the type of meat before ordering one.

Food in Peru

El Chifa: Peruvian cuisine wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the Asian influence. Chifa refers to the Chinese restaurants and the cuisine. The word Chifa is said to come from the Chinese Mandarin words Chi – Fan which means to eat rice.

Lomo Saltado: The strips of steak are sautéd with soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, chilies, onions and tomatoes. They’re then served over a bed of rice with a large portion french fries. It’s often served with a small side of salad too. Not the best one if you’re on a diet!

Peruvian cuisine

Cuy: This is where Peruvian cuisine might get a little scary for you. In South America the guinea pig is called a cuy. It was once eaten by Incan royalty and today remains a special food in Peru. While some restaurants serve it cut into small pieces and marinated others prefer it in a more dramatic way. It isn’t uncommon to see the entire animal, head, feet and all grilled and served on a platter. The question is, how would you like your guinea pig served?

Cuy is famous Peruvian food

There are a wide range of restaurants in Peru where you may try anything from this list, but be aware that the food in Peru is generally much spicier than in neighboring countries. And remember that it’s not advisable to drink tap water while in Peru, but travellers with a weak stomach should also be careful when it comes to salads since they’re usually washed in tap water.

Delicious Peruvian desserts

Picarones: These look like thin donuts with a hole in the centre, but they aren’t round. They’re a type of pumpkin fritter which is normally served with syrup on top.

Peruvian cuisine

Mazamorra Morada: This is a purple jelly-like dessert that gets its color from one of its ingredients, maiz morado or purple corn.

Lucuma: This ‘nutty’ flavoured, orange-colored fruit is frequently found in Peruvian desserts. Peru is the only place in the world that has a large production of the lucuma fruit, although you will also find smaller lucuma farms throughout South America.

A popular dessert in Peruvian cuisine

Thanks to LWY, Go!Pymes Fotos, kazuaki.h, Yogma for the excellent images from Flickr. Please note, all images were used under the Creative Commons License at the time of posting. 

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