In the language of the native Quechua people, Peru means “land of abundance.” Today, Peru has become a world-class destination for abundant flavor. The wide range in climate and terrain created great variety in natural ingredients in Peru — there’s over 3800 kinds of potatoes alone! The country has also welcomed culinary traditions brought in by immigrants from other parts of the world. These factors, combined with the talent of local chefs, have created a vibrant culinary scene that is worth a visit!
Ceviche, a dish of raw fish “cooked” in a marinade, is truly the highlight of a Peruvian culinary experience. Feeling particularly adventurous? Try drinking the leftover spicy citrus marinade, known as leche de tigre or “tiger’s milk.”
In the Andean Region, cuy has been an important source of meat since the ancient civilizations. Caution: cuy is what we would call guinea pig. It’s served whole, so this is a dish for the more gastronomically adventurous. Another traditional option for the curious is the popular street food anticuchos, or grilled beef heart served on skewers. The dish originated when Spanish conquerors chose the best cuts of meat and left the organs for their African slaves.
In the 19th century, Peruvian cuisine was transformed by immigrant workers from China. Local ingredients were cooked with Chinese techniques, creating the culinary style called chifa. One of the most popular chifa dishes is Lomo Saltado. It is a stir-fry of beef, tomatoes, peppers and onion cooked in soy sauce and served with fries and white rice.
No trip to Peru would be complete without enjoying the national drink, pisco. It is a spirit made from distilled wine. The most popular way to enjoy pisco is the Pisco Sour, a cocktail made with pisco, lime juice, simple syrup, egg whites and bitters. Can you imagine yourself dining by the beach, a fork of fresh ceviche in one hand and a pisco sour in the other?