This is a mixture of Peruvian and Spanish styles –both techniques and ingredients– resulting in a tasty and refined menu, the secrets of which have passed from generation to generation. The customs and cooking of the African slaves brought to Peru have also had a marked influence on Creole food. Tasty main courses and exquisite desserts are its principal attractions.
REGIONAL PERUVIAN COOKING
Regional Peruvian cuisine is extraordinarily varied and the heir to recipes that in many cases date back hundreds of years. Northern cuisine, for instance, as well as having many seafood specialities, offers some marvellous dishes using local ingredients, such as duck and rice or “seco”. All over the Andes a classic dish is the “chupe” –a mighty broth with numerous ingredients– complemented by native products, meat and fresh water fish. In the centre of the country, in the zone known as the Callejon de Huaylas (Ancash) the signature dish is the “pachamanca”, Meats and tubers cooked in a hole in the ground with hot stones. To the south, Arequipa and Cusco stand out especially.
The first because of its spectacular fresh water crayfish and its great red hot pepper rocoto; the second because the use of native products has given rise to an interesting contemporary fusion of styles. The jungle has much to offer. “Juanes”, (rice and chicken wrapped in leaves), palm heart salad, Amazon fish and exotic fruit mark the culinary landscape.
This movement arose with the rediscovery of native Peruvian produce –cereals, tubers, fruits and herbs, among others– combined with the techniques of international cuisine-both classical and modern.
NEW PERUVIAN CUISINE
Following, to a certain extent, the path beaten by nouveau Andean cuisine, this style fuses Peruvian products with those from other countries. Traditional culinary techniques are also used in new ways. The style also respectfully reinterprets classical dishes as novel signature dishes.
FISH AND SHELLFISH
This may be said to be the products most deeply rooted in Peruvian tradition and they can be enjoyed in many places all over the country. Cebiche –so versatile that it is a favourite of establishments from the simplest beachfront cabin to the most sophisticated restaurant– has many succulent variations. All of these are based on the freshest produce from the Peruvian coast.
“Chifa” is the generic name given to Chinese restaurants in Peru. It is also used for Peruvian Chinese food, which incorporates a number of local elements and preferences. This style of cuisine is one of the most popular in the country and boasts a wide variety of dishes.
Nikkei cuisine is an adaptation of the customs and practices of Japanese residents in Peru. This combination gave rise to a culinary style which emphasizes the Japanese liking for seafood and an elegant simplicity of flavours.
Fusion is the confluence of so many gastronomic trends that it merits a work of its own. Peru has welcomed different culinary styles, which are cultivated passionately in many restaurants: Italian, French, Mediterranean, Arab and Thai. For this reason fusion with Peruvian cuisine occurred almost naturally and there are many creative chefs who continually surprise their diners by extending the boundaries of Peru’s colourful gastronomic panorama.