Here are our favorites. Don't miss trying these favorite traditional and modern Peruvian dishes on your trip.
Peru’s long Pacific coastline lends itself to some of the best seafood in all of South America, freshly caught in the sea and prepared the same day. Without a doubt, the most popular seafood dish of Peru is the signature ceviche. While several countries along the Pacific coast lay claim to their own recipes of ceviche, the variation in Peru is unrivaled, featuring a delicious mixture of raw fish (typically fluke or flounder), sweet potatoes, corn, cilantro, and onions, all served in a chili-lime marinade (known locally as Leche del Tigre or “Tiger’s Milk”).
Considered a pet in most parts of the world, the guinea pig (or cuy as it is called in Quichua and Spanish) is actually a popular Andean dish with a gamy taste and typically baked, roasted, or grilled on a spit. Some of the fancier restaurants feature cuy as a delicacy, but the best way to capture the flavor is to buy it from a street vendor.
A close relative of ceviche, tiradito is fish seasoned with lemon juice and spices or sauces. There are many different types of tiraditos: ají amarillo (our unique chili pepper, rocoto (another type of Peruvian chili pepper), or some innovative ways that could add some fruit juices such as maracuyá (passion fruit), or tumbo (a very citric northern fruit). Fresh and subtle, it is so called because the fish is cut into fine strips (tiras in Spanish) so that it ‘cooks’ quickly in the lemon juice.
4) CHUPE DE CAMARONES
Crayfish chowder is one of the best known of Peru’s regional dishes. It originates in the region of Arequipa. It is a soup made principally from freshwater crayfish, to which are added vegetables such as peas, beans, potatoes and rice. It also contains milk, eggs, chilli pepper and aromatic herbs, among other condiments. In Peru “chupe” means a broth containing a variety of ingredients and which are therefore robust and nutritious.
5) POTATOES & CAUSA
It is said that there are more than 4,000 varieties of tubers in Peru, which is why so many of the typical plates feature some kind of potato. Causa is a dish based on mashed potatoes seasoned with oil, lemon juice, “ají” (Peruvian unique chilli pepper) and condiments. Causa is generally filled with mayonnaise and different fillings: chicken, tuna, crab meat, vegetables, and others. The legend says that the name reflects on Peru’s border war with Chile, when all the soldiers had left to eat were potatoes, so the women supported them by making it as appetizing as possible, all for “the cause.”
Anticuchos are brochettes of grilled beef heart. This is one of the tastiest dishes in Peruvian Creole cooking, as the pieces of heart are marinated beforehand i
n a spicy marinade. Anticuchos are usually served with boiled potatoes and sweetcorn and can commonly be bought on the street in most Peruvian towns and cities.
7) LOMO SALTADO
This is one of the emblematic dishes of Peruvian Creole cooking. It consists of pieces of tender beef stir-fried and accompanied by fried potatoes, onions, tomato and ají pepper. During the preparation, the beef is often flambéed in the pan, which gives it an extra special flavour. It is generally served with white rice.
Representing the Novo-Andean cuisine, carapulcra combines pork and dehydrated potatoes in a peanut-garlic stew that can have a powerful kick depending on how much red pepper the recipe calls for.
9) ROCOTO RELLENO
Another classic of Arequipa cuisine. The rocoto is stuffed with cooked meat and sauce and is gratinated with cheese thereafter. Rocoto is a very spicy pepper and is cooked several times to reduce its heat. The classical accompaniment to this dish is potato baked with cheese.
10) AJÍ DE GALLINA
This is a Creole dish consisting of chicken (better with the meat of a fully mature hen) cooked and teased into small strips in a tasty creamy sauce whose principal ingredients are “ají”(Peruvian unique chili) and milk. It is accompanied by boiled potatoes and white rice, and decorated with hard-boiled egg and olives.