It’s said to be one of the most delicious food in the world, literally. Peruvian dishes are something exceptional to try, they are healthy, tasty and have the influence of the Peruvian popular culture and from the African, Iberian and even the Asiatic culture lately. So here’s your guide on how to enjoy a culinary experience in Peru in the most local way: several dishes that will have you drooling from second one and… the best places to enjoy them!
Roasted Guinea Pig
It might seem hard for many people to eat an actual rodent, because that’s what a Guinea pig is - they call it cuy in Peru. But if you are able to look past that and enjoy the delicious and soft taste of this meat, you’ll really love it. In smaller villages from Los Andes where local cuisine is not that “fancy” at all (the best ones, at least for me!), they will serve it in one big piece, so just be aware of that!
Where to eat it locally: Valle Sagrado.
Arroz a la chiclayana
Literally translated as “chiclayana-style rice”, this dish comes from Chiclayo, a city in Peru which is famous for offering a pretty varied and delicious local food. This specific rice can be prepared with chicken, duck or any other type of meat. The main ingredient, besides rice obviously, is “zapallo loche”, a kind of pumpkin that is served with peas, coriander and black beer. How good does it sound?
Where to eat it locally: Chiclayo.
Ají de gallina
This Peruvian typical stew is made out of aji amarillo (yellow pepper) and hen, which is way more delicious than what people usually think. This dish has a very special preparation, it’s pretty different from a usual stew, since it’s made with pecans, milk, soda crackers and tin loaf. Locals usually accompany it with eggs and olives.
Where to eat it locally: Lima.
This dish is very popular in Peru and it consists of chicken or cow tripe (mondongo de pollo o vaca in Spanish) and boiled potatoes, which are usually cooked with peas, yellow pepper, onion and garlic. And of course, some rice. You can’t have a Peruvian lunch or dinner without rice, as you can see. The cau-cau is a pre-Columbian dish that comes from the Quechua culture, according to a popular belief.
Where to eat it locally: Andean region of the country.
Papa a la huancaina
Peru can actually brag of having the largest variety of potatoes in the world. I guess that’s why you see them in almost every single dish, which I don’t complain about! They cook potatoes in all kinds of exquisite ways! The main characteristic of this dish is the sauce that is served with the boiled potatoes, which is prepared with cheese, oil, salt and yellow peppers. It’s pretty popular in the Amazonian part of the country.
Where to eat it locally: Huancayo.
Choritos a la chalaca
“Choros” are the Peruvian word for mussels. These edible mussels are typically found in Peru’s coast and Chile and they prepared with diced tomato and onion. They mix the vegetables with the valve itself and season everything with some pure lemon juice. In some parts of the country, especially in the central-west part, you will find it with corn as well.
Where to eat it locally: Callao.
I have to mention that I haven’t talked about ceviche because that’s the Peruvian dish you always hear everyone talk about, so I figured I’d feature some other different plates. I hope this quick guide has helped you know a bit better how Peruvian people eat - you can so much about a culture just by its food! If you want my last advice on this subject: just have your meals in more local places or even have a gastronomic experience with a Peruvian insider! Support smaller economies as a way of impacting in the community as much as you can.