Peru is home to ancient Incan culture, mindblowing ancient ruins and unbeatable cuisine. The food is as unique as its history with loads of regional variations, time tested traditions and unique native ingredients. Whether you’re looking to order from your local Peruvian restaurant or plan on visiting, here are seven Peruvian foods to try.
Traditional Peruvian Foods Everyone Needs To Try
1. Aji De Gallina
Aji de Gallina is a magical Peruvian dish made up of creamed shredded chicken and curried with cheese, walnuts, cream and aji amarillo sauce. The paste is mix of aji amarillo, a common Peruvian yellow chilli pepper. The aji amarillo gives just the right amount of kick and makes the dish distinctly Peruvian.
2. Papas A La Huancaína
Papas A La Huancaína is essentially a dish of potatoes smothered in spicy cheese sauce. The recipe starts with steamed golden potatoes, and the cheese sauce is a blend of cheese, aji amarillo, garlic and milk. It all comes together to create a soupy, stewy, golden dish with some subtle heat and lots of flavour.
One of the most popular meat options in Peru and throughout the Andes is cuy or guinea pig in English. It may sound a little strange to eat a rodent, but Peruvians swear by the tender dark meat and smokiness in their traditional cuy dishes. Traditionally, the chef will stuff the cuy with herbs and spices. Then it is slow-cooked over a fire and given a splash of aji sauce making for a simple, no-fuss roast.
4. Rocoto Relleno
This sweet and savoury Peruvian favourite is full of heat, local spices and unique blends of custard and meat. The dish consists of a hollowed aji rocoto chilli stuffed with a mix of beef, herbs, olives and garlic. Afterwards, topped with fresh cheese a sweet egg custard. Beware though, the aji rocoto packs around ten times the heat of a jalapeno.
5. Anticuchos De Corazon
Leaner than filet mignon and loaded with complex nutrients, the heart is a staple in the Peruvian diet. First, the chef will douse the heart of an alpaca or cow in vinegar and then spices. Then, it’s grilled over an open fire and served kebab style with a squeeze of lime. Wash it down with a glass of dry red.
This just wouldn’t be a round up of delicious Peruvian food without a nod to Peru’s national dish, ceviche. The cold seafood dish has tons of variations throughout Latin America, but Peruvians do it best. In a Peruvian ceviche, you’ll find a basic, but flavourful mixup of lime-marinated seabass, onion and hot chilis. It’s the perfect mix of zest and spice!
Causa is a cold potato casserole native to Quecha. It is one of the nation’s favourites and known for its distinct yellow colour. Golden potatoes made into a firm paste with oil, lime and aji amarillo are then layered with a meat filling such as tuna, chicken or salmon. Spice it up with some avocado or olives for some extra flavour.
Melanie is an avid traveller with a passion for history and global foods. She is currently based in Tbilisi, Georgia where most of her time is occupied with qvevri wine and Soviet history. Having do-si-do'd her way across Europe and Latin America, she's enjoyed some of the world's most exciting places firsthand and can't wait to tell you about them.