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Peruvian cuisine

Peruvian cuisine is considered one of the most delicious and diverse in the world and competes with the top popular cuisines in the planet such as the French, Chinese and Italian cuisine. In January 2004, The Economist said that "Peru can lay claim to one of the world's dozen or so great cuisines", while at the Fourth International Summit of Gastronomy Madrid Fusion 2006, regarded as the world's most important gastronomic forum, held in Spain between January 17th and 19th, Lima was declared the "Gastronomic Capital of the Americas". As of the late 20th century and the early 21st century, Peruvian cuisine has become widely regarded by professionals and the international media as "the best of Latin America."

Thanks to its pre-Incas and Inca heritage and to Spanish, Basque, African, Sino-Cantonese, Japanese, Arabic and finally Italian, French and British immigration (mainly throughout the 19th century), Peruvian cuisine combines the flavors of four continents. With the eclectic variety of traditional dishes, the Peruvian culinary arts are in constant evolution, and impossible to list in their entirety. Suffice it to mention that along the Peruvian coast alone there are more than two thousand different types of soups, and that there are more than 250 traditional desserts.

The great variety in Peruvian cuisine stems from three major influences:

Peru's unique geography

Peru's openness and blending of distinct ethnicities and cultures

The incorporation of ancient cuisine into modern Peruvian cuisine

Diverse crops

Peru is considered an important center for the genetic diversity of the world's crops:

Maize (corn), 35 varieties

Tomatoes, 15 species

Potatoes, 2,000 varieties (in Peru), and 3,000 in the world. The International Potato Center, which goes by its Spanish name's initials (CIP short for Centro Internacional de la Papa) that is devoted to the investigation and genetic conservation of the potato, is located in Lima, Peru.

Sweet potatoes, 2,016 varieties

Peanuts are found as decorative pieces made of gold in several pre-Columbian tombs. Peanuts were later taken by Spanish and Portuguese merchants to Africa.

Fish, 2,000 species of fish, both freshwater and saltwater (more than any other country on Earth)

Fruit, 650 native species

It is also famed for its large number of species of bananas. The variety of climate itself can provide for the bringing of fruits from all the world.

From Peru, the Spanish brought back to Europe foods which would become staples for many peoples around the world.

Potatoes: Potatoes were considered livestock feed in Europe until French chemist Antoine-Augustin Parmentier began serving dishes made from the tubers at his lavish banquets. His guests were immediately convinced that potatoes were fit for human consumption. Parmentier's introduction of the potato is still discussed in Europe today.

Maize: Maize is native to all of Central and South America.

Tomatoes: Tomatoes were introduced to Europe from Latin America.

and many other food products.

From its interaction with Africa through Spain, Peru imported diverse foods such as bananas, okra, and yams.

Cultivation of ancient plants

Some plants that were cultivated by the ancient societies of Peru have now been rediscovered by modern Peruvians and are carefully studied by scientists. Due to the characteristics of its land and climate and due to the nutritional quality of its products, some Peruvian plants will play a vital role in the nutrition of the future: this is true for quinoa, which is an excellent source of essential amino acids, and kaniwa which appear to be and are prepared like cereals but are not cereals. Root vegetables such as maca and real cereals like kiwicha are also plants nutritionists are researching today.

For many of Peru's inhabitants, these foodstocks allow for adequate nutrition even though living standards are poor. The abandoning of many of these staples during the Spanish domination and republican eras has brought down nutritional levels in the country.

Some of these foodstocks have been used since 1985 by NASA for astronaut food, like quinoa, kiwicha and maca.

Peruvian cuisine is often made spicy by means of aji pepper, a basic ingredient. Some Peruvian chili peppers are not spicy but serve to give taste and color to dishes. Rice often accompanies dishes in Peruvian cuisine, and the regional sources of foods and traditions give rise to countless varieties of preparation and dishes.

Fine Peruvian cuisine emphasizes the mix of colors and ingredients, in a dynamically growing restaurateur industry and trends led by young and talented chefs.

The following are just a few of the many dishes which are generally popular with the Peruvians. Some of these originated in other parts of Peru but most are well known and can be found in some part of Lima.

Regional differences

Peru is a country that holds not just a variety of ethnic mixes since times ranging from the Inca Empire, the Viceroyalty and the Republic, but also a climatic variety of 28 individual climates. The mixing of cultures and the variety of climates differ from city to city so geography, climate, culture and ethnic mix determine the variety of local cuisine.

Cuisine of the Coast

The cuisine of the coast can be said to have five strong influences: Japanese, the Moorish, the African, the Chinese and the local native.

The Pacific Ocean is the principal source of aquatic resources for Peru. Peru is one of the world's top two producers and exporters of unusually high-protein for use in livestock/aquaculture feed. Its richness in fish and other aquatic life is enormous, and many oceanic plant and animal species can only be found in Peru. As important as the Pacific is to Peru's biodiversity, freshwater biomes such as the Amazon River and Lake Titicaca also play a large role in the ecological make-up of the country.

Every coastal region, being distinct in flora and fauna populations, adapts its cuisine in accordance to the resources available in its waters.

Ceviche, with its many different variations is a good example of this regional adaptation. Ceviche is found in almost all Peruvian restaurants specialized in this country's world renowned fish and seafood. Lima alone holds thousands of them, from the simple to very fancy ones. Typically served with camote, or sweet potato.

The chupe de camarones (shrimp cioppino) is one of the most popular dishes of Peruvian coastal cuisine. It is made from a thick freshwater shrimp (crayfish) stock soup, potatoes, milk and chili pepper. Regarded as typical from Arequipa, Chupe de Camarones is regularly found in Peruvian restaurants specialized in Arequipan cuisine.

Cuisine of Lima and Central Coast

A center of immigration and centers of the Spanish Viceroyalty, Lima and Trujillo have incorporated unique dishes brought from the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadors and the receiving of many waves of immigrants: African, European, Chinese, and Japanese. Besides international immigrationa large portion of which happened in Limathere has been, since the second half of the 20th century, a strong internal flow from rural areas to cities, in particular to Lima. This has strongly influenced Lima's cuisine with the incorporation of the immigrant's ingredients and techniques .

Creole cuisine is the most widespread in this city. Some international cuisines with a large presence include Chinese (known locally as chifa) and Italian. The city's ubiquitous bakeries are another culinary treasure, where one may find just out of the oven bread from 6 to 9 am and from 4 to 6 pm. Few coastal cities bakeries produce "bollos", which are loaves of bread baked in stone and wood-ovens from the Andes, the great Peruvian mountains.

Anticuchos are brochettes made from a beef heart marinated in a various Peruvian spices and grilled, often sided with boiled potatoes and corn. They are commonly sold by street vendors and served shish kabob-style, but one may find them in creole food restaurants.

Also frequently sold by street vendors are tamales: boiled corn with meat or cheese and wrapped in a banana leaf. They are similar to humitas, which consist of corn mixed with spices, sugar, onions, filled with pork and olives and finally wrapped in the leaves of corn husks. Tamales are a common breakfast food, often served with lima and/or "Salsa Criolla."

Another favorite food to be found in many restaurants is '''' (Huancayo-style potatoes), a dish consisting of sliced boiled potatoes, served on a bed of lettuce with a slightly spicy cheese sauce with olives. Even if the name says that it is from Huancayo, it is actually from Chosica, in Lima, made by a "Huancaina" (a person from huancayo)

Ceviche, often spelled "cebiche" in Peru, is the flagship dish of coastal cuisine, and one of Peru's favorites. It is the quintessence of fusion: Andean chili peppers, onions and acidic aromatic lime, of a species imported by the Spanish, though with origins in Northern Africa ("limon" in Spanish). A spicy dish, it consists generally of bite-size pieces of white fish (such as corvina or white sea bass), marinated raw in lime juice mixed with chilis. Ceviche is served with raw onions, boiled sweet potatoes (camote), toasted corn (cancha), and sometimes a local green seaweed yuyo. Leche de tigre (tiger's milk), is the Peruvian colloquial name for the juice produced from the ingredients of ceviche. It has a light spicy flavor and serves as a good reconstituent. Local custom recommends ceviche as a breakfast for sleepwalkers, a hangover cure and as an aphrodisiac. Unlike ceviche from Mexico and Ecuador, it does not have tomatoes, and unlike that of Tahiti it does not use coconut milk, though both are abundant in Peru. A variation available in Callao replaces mango for fish.

Tiradito is the younger brother of ceviche, and shows more clearly the influence that Japanese cooks have had in Peru's seafood cuisine . The fish is sliced in fine strips that are similar to sashimi, and then marinated in a mix of lime juice, ginger and aji limo. Unlike ceviche, tiradito lacks onions, which translates into a subtler taste.

Papa rellena (stuffed potato): mashed potatoes stuffed with ground (minced) meat, eggs, olives and various spices and then deep fried.

Arroz tapado (covered rice): uses the same stuffing of papa rellena, but rather than used as a stuffing, it is accompanied by rice.

Sancochado: A hearty beef and vegetable stew which includes yuca (cassava) and camotes (sweet potatoes).

A local staple found in many cheaper, as well as more up-market, restaurants is , sliced beef (if made from the tenderloin it is "lomo fino") stir fried with onion, tomato, soy sauce, vinegar, chili (aji) and served or mixed with French fried potatoes (aka "chips"), and accompanied with rice.

Lima has an abundance of Peruvian-style Chinese restaurants or "chifas" as they are known locally; indeed, arroz chaufa or Chinese style rice is one of the frequently sampled dishes that has found its way into Peruvian cuisine.

, or rice with chicken, is enjoyed for its rich-flavored rice combined with chicken.

Chupe de pescado or fish cioppino is popular in Lima and along the coast.

Lima butter bean (pallares) salad: a salad made with (obviously) Peruvian Lima butter beans (called pallares in Peru), boiled (but still whole) and mixed (when cooled) with a "salsa" of onions, slices of tomatoes, and green aji (chili), marinated in green Peruvian lime juice, oil, salt, and vinegar. Lima butter beans (pallares) have been part of the Peruvian cuisine for at least 6,000 years.

Butifarras: a sandwich in a hamburger-type bread roll and consisting of Peruvian ham with a special spicy sauce consisting of sliced onions, sliced chili peppers, lime, salt, pepper, and oil.

Causa, in its basic form, is a mashed yellow potato dumpling mixed with key lime, onion, chili and oil. Varieties can have avocado, chicken, tuna (typically canned) or even shellfish added to the mixture. Also causa is very popular in Lima which distinguishes this dish by saying Causa Limena. Causa is usually served cold with hard boiled eggs and olives.

Carapulcra is an appetizing stewed dish of pork and chicken, dried potatoes, red chilis, peanuts and cumin. The version from the Afro-Peruvian Ica region uses fresh potatoes.

Empanadas peruanas (Peruvian pastries/meat pies. These are not to be confused with the meat pies found in many northern Western countries) They can be filled either with chicken, beef, cheese or be strictly vegetarian. They have a unique taste due to the addition of olives and sometimes hard boiled eggs and raisins.

Aji de gallina (chili chicken) is thin strips of chicken served with a creamy yellow and spicy sauce, made basically with aji amarillo (yellow chilis), cheese, milk, bread, and walnuts. Traditionally from non-laying hens, but today almost exclusvely made from more tender chickens.

Escabeche criollo (pickled fish): "Escabeche" when the word is used alone normally refers to escabeche of fish. Other varieties can use duck or chicken. The escabeche dishes rely in the cooking on the heavy use of vinegar and onions together with other spices and chili.

Cau cau is a meal consisting of mondongo or tripe stew and accompanied by rice. There are a number of versions of Cau-Cau. In general cau-cau is a style of cooking being there seafood cau-cau, shellfish cau-cau, etc. Two noteworthy styles are the creole style simply called Tripe Cau-Cau, and the Italo-Peruvian style. The creole is made with strips of previously cooked tripe, seasoned by a mixture of sauteed onions, garlic, yellow aji, a pinch of turmeric, salt and pepper and chunks of boiled potatoes. The mixed is allowed to cook together to blend the tastes and acquire consistency. It is then sprinkled with spearmint or mint. The other common version is the "Italian" style. It consists of strips of precooked tripe sauteed with a mixture of red onions, peeled tomatoes, tomato paste and dried mushrooms (Porcini). After the flavors blend it is seasoned with parsley and mixed with fried potato strips just prior to serving. Some chefs add a few tablespoons of wine or pisco following the sautee step. These recipes may have African and Chinese influence as well as Italian.

Chicharrones: a dish consisting of deep-fried (in its own fat) and heavily salted pork. There are at least two kinds of chicharrones: pork skins, and country style ribs first boiled until dried and until they render their own fat where the continue the browning process required for them to be called chicharrones.

There are other types of chicharrones including deep fried squid, and other seafoods. They can be served at breakfast or any time of day.

Cuisine of the Northern Coast

The cuisine of the northern coast offers a difference in style from the central and southern varieties. This is not only due to the coastal native Indian influence (less Andean), the Moorish and Spanish influence, the African and the Gypsy influence (Hindustani); but also to the warmer coastal seas, hotter climate and immense geographical latitude variety.

The widely different climates between Tumbes, Piura, Lambayeque, La Libertad, Cajamarca and San Martin contributes to the variety of dishes in these areas.

Northern Style Dishes:

Shambar is a soup made with wheat, pork rinds, smoked ham, assorted beans, and green onions. It is served with toasted corn (cancha) and is made only on Mondays.

Seco de Cabrito is made in a pot after marinating with chicha de jora or beer and other spices including fresh coriander leaves (cilantro) and garlic. This is most popular in the northern coast especially in Cajamarca and Lambayeque.

Seco de Chavelo (typically from Catacaos - Piura is a type of seco that is made of cecina stewed and dried meat that has been clotted and dried along with bananas, yuca, aji panca and the addition of Clarito (from Chicha de Jora the Piurano style).

Cebiche de Conchas Negras (ceviche with black shells) is a dish of Piura and Tumbes is also popular along the southern coast of Ecuador due to Peruvian influence. In this version of ceviche, the seafood used in the dish should be black clams accompanied by toasted corn.

Cuisine of the Andes

In the valleys and plains of the Andes, the locals' diet continues to be based on corn (maiz), potatoes, and an assortment of tubers as it has been for many hundreds of years. Meat comes from indigenous animals like alpacas and guinea pigs, but also from imported livestock like sheep and swine.

As with many rural cultures, most of the more elaborate dishes were reserved for festivities, while daily meals were simple affairs. Nowadays, the festive dishes are consumed every day, although they tend to be on the heavy side and demand a large appetite.

The pachamanca is a very special banquet in and of itself. Cooked all over the Andean region of Peru, is made from a variety of meats (including pork and beef), herbs and a variety of vegetables that are slowly cooked underground on a bed of heated stones. It demands skillful cooks to create and a large number of guests to consume. Because of its tedious preparation it is normally only done for celebrations or festivals in the Andes, though recent years have seen the appearance of many "campestre" restaurants outside Lima where urban families can escape to spend an afternoon in the fresh air eating pachamanca. Such as in Cieneguilla.

Andean cooking's main freshwater fish is the trout, raised in fisheries in the region.

Currently, ostrich meat is being raised from farms in Arequipa, although its consumption is not widespread and limited to urban areas.

Cuy chactado: A dish more popular in the highlands is this meal of fried guinea pig. Often the indigenous women of the Peruvian Andes will raise the guinea pigs in their huts where they run around loose on the floors of the dwellings. Prior to consumption they can reach a surprisingly large size. Besides the use of guinea pigs as separate meals, they are often cooked in a Pachamanca with other meats and vegetables.

Olluquito con charqui is another traditional Andean dish. Olluco is a yellowish tuber (Ullucus tuberosus) domesticated by pre-Inca populations, and is visually similar to colorful small Andean potatoes, but with a distinct crunchy texture when cooked. Charqui is the technique employed in the Andean highlands to cure meat by salting, then dehydration. Incidentally the word "jerky" in English is derived from this Andean (Qechuan) word. The dish is a stew of finely diced ollucos with charqui pieces , served with white rice.

Rocoto relleno: Arequipa dish made from stuffed rocoto chilis. Rocotos are one of the very hot (spicy) chilis of Peru. In this dish they are stuffed with spiced beef or pork, onions, olives, egg white and then cooked in the oven with potatoes covered with cheese and milk.

Cuisine of the Jungle

Naturally, jungle cuisine is made using the products local to the area. Although many animal species are hunted for food in the biologically diverse jungle, standouts are the paiche (one of the world's largest freshwater fish), prepared in variety of dishes; many other types of fish like gamitana, sabalo, tucunare, boquichico, palometa, bagre, and many others including the piranha, that are prepared in variety of dishes such as "timbuche" (soup) or "patarashca" (grilled in vegetables); many types of turtles like the motelo (land turtle), and the charapa and taricaya (river turtles). Hunting turtles is prohibited in Peru, therefore turtle-based dishes are scarce and expensive and not sold a la carte in restaurants. Other animals include the majas, the sajino, the agouti and jungle mammals, which are called collectively "carne de monte". [*] The Black Caiman is also considered a delicatesse, but its hunt is also forbidden under Peruvian law.

Among the fruits of Peru's jungle is the camu camu, which contains 40 times more vitamin C than the kiwifruit. Exotic fruits such as mango and pineapple are also in abundance, as well as other jungle fruits like caimito, taperiva, mamey (pomarosa), anona, copoazu, dry fruits like the aguaje and the hungurahui.

Juane is rice seasoned with turmeric, and chicken wrapped in banana leaves.

Other regional dishes

Chalona is a cured meat originally obtained from alpaca but today lamb is often substituted. Its origins are not very clear, but it is presumed that it comes from the Incan empire. It is used as an ingredient in a variety of dishes of the Puno region, Cusco, and Arequipa. It is prepared using recently-cured lamb in which furrows are made with a knife in order for the salt to penetrate into the meat. The process of salt penetration is important, because from this depends how long the cured meat will last. The meat is left to dry in the sun and cold nights for almost one month.

Chairo: A traditional soup of the Puno and Arequipa regions, consisting of black chuno, aji panca (red chili pepper), sweet potatoes, meat and chalona.

Ocopa: A dish with some similarities to Papas a la Huancaina. It consists of boiled and sliced yellow potatoes covered with a sauce of made of aji (chili pepper), walnuts, the Peruvian herb tagetes minuta, , and fresh or white cheese, sided with lettuce, boiled eggs and olives. It is usually served in restaurants specializing in traditional Peruvian and creole cuisine, or Arequipa cuisine.

Copus is one of the best known dishes of Piura. Its ingredients are ripe fried bananas, camotes (sweet potatoes), and seasoned hen, turkey, goat, and mutton. The meat is cooked in a furnace under the ground; this method is different from using a pachamanca since the furnace is covered with blankets and clay.

Yuca chupe or cassava soup is one of the variations in which the Peruvians enjoy cassava.

Crema de tarwi (tarwi soup): Tarwi is a vegetable native to the mountains of Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru. In addition to its use in soup, tarwi is used in much of Peruvian cuisine, including sancochado. Fresh tarwi can be used in stews, purees, sauces, desserts and in a variation of cebiche. In some areas, locals call it chocho. Its cultivation has recently expanded to all the countries of the Andean region. In Peru, it is principally grown in the areas of Cajamarca, Ancash, the Mantaro Valley, Ayacucho, Cusco, and Puno.

Tarwi can also be found in beverages (such as papaya juice with tarwi flour). Tarwi has been shown to have a higher vegetable protein content than soy. In pre-Incan and Incan times, it was an important part of the mostly vegetarian diet of the region. It was consumed with small quantities of meat and dried fish, providing an abundant source of protein for the population. Tarwi seeds have been found in Nazca tombs and in representations of Tiahuanaco ceramics.

El Chifa

Chifa is the Peruvian term for Chinese food (or for a Chinese restaurant). In the 150 years since its arrival in Peru, the Chinese Peruvian culture has revolutionized Peruvian cuisine, gaining international recognition from those who have had the opportunity to sample it while visiting Peru.

Chifa reflects a fusion by Chinese Peruvians of the products that the Chinese brought with them to those that they found in Peru, and later cultivated themselves. Even some creole dishes such as tacu-tacu, lomo saltado, and arroz chaufa were influenced by the Chinese.

In downtown Lima, on Capon Street, is the barrio chino (Chinatown). The great variety of savory and sweet dishes there, with different types of meats, vegetables, and soups, created a new culinary alternative for Peruvians.

Sweet dishes and desserts

Alfajores: a common dessert made in several varieties. Created by Arabic influence in colonial Peru, the basic recipe makes use of a base mix of flour, key lime rind, margarine, and powdered sugar which is then oven-baked. Alfajores consist of two or more layers of this baked pastry, and is usually filled with either manjar blanco or molasses.

Turrones (or nougat) (similar to fudge) are of several varieties. One common variety to be found in Lima is Turron de Dona Pepa, an anise and honey nougat that is traditionally prepared for the Senor de los Milagros (or Lord of Miracles) religious procession, during October. Turrones are most commonly made from almonds, and can be found in Spanish-speaking countries all over the world.

Almost exclusive to Peru is the fruit known as lucuma. Lucuma juice, ice cream, and corresponding lucuma shakes are very popular throughout Peru. Lucuma ice cream can normally only be found in large US cities (typically in Peruvian restaurants). One popular brand of ice cream in Peru is D'onofrio, which is owned by Nestle.

Arroz con leche (rice-pudding): While this dessert can be found throughout South America, regional variations tend to exist, as they do in the Peruvian variety. Arroz con leche is one of the more common desserts found in homes and restaurants of modern-day Peru. It consists primarily of cooked rice, cinnamon/nutmeg, raisins, and milk.

Helados (ice cream): Peru has the usual assortment of common ice cream flavors but also some more exotic flavors such as camu camu, guarana and tuna, the latter being the local name for the fruit of the prickly pear cactus, and not to be confused with the fish. Peru is one of few countries in the world where the third most popular ice-cream (after vanilla and chocolate) is not strawberry, it is in fact the "nutty" flavored, orange colored lucuma, which is an exotic fruit grown in quantity only in its native Peru, and only in recent years being exported in very limited quantities as a gourmet flavor (for ice cream and savory sauces) to the USA, and available in Europe essentially in food shows.

Mazamorra morada: a jelly-like dessert which takes on the color of one of its main ingredients: purple maize. Mazamorra morada is a traditional dessert of Peru. A variety of purple corn (maiz morado) grows in Peru that colors and adds a particular flavor to the water in which it is boiled. When that water is cooled and chopped fruit, key lime and sugar is added, and the mixture is served as a beverage called "chicha morada".

Picarones: a sweet, ring-shaped fritter with a pumpkin base; often served with a molasses syrup.

Picarones are pumpkin fritters that are also eaten as late-afternoon street food during El Senor de los Milagros celebrations. This is another dish that has its origins in the colonial period. Some believe they are a local adaptation of Spanish bunuelos. Picarones are made of squash or pumpkin dough and sweetened with chancaca, raw cane sugar melted into a syrup.

Tejas: candy filled with manjar blanco and coated with a fondant-like shell. Some are also made with a chocolate shell (chocoteja).

Suspiro a la Limena: a dessert made of milk. This classic criollo dessert is said to have been named by the famous Peruvian poet and author Jose Galvez whose wife dona Amparo Ayarez was famous for her cooking. When asked what inspired the name, he reportedly replied because it is soft and sweet like the sigh of a woman. In this case, it would be a woman from Lima, a Limena.


Soft Drinks

Well-known soft drinks include:

Chicha Morada: a beverage prepared from a base of boiled purple maize to which are added chunks of pineapple, sugar, and ice as it cools. First-timers compare it to Kool-aid, with a pleasant, almost fruity taste. Not to be confused with the fermented beverage chicha (chicha de jora)

Inca Kola: the brand of a popular fizzy soda drink (gaseosa), which is a cultural icon, served literally on the most humble to the most exclusive tables nationwide, alone or with any type of food. Yellow in color, it is sweet and refreshing, said to resemble the taste of bubble gum. Inca Kola is the only national beverage in the world that beat worldwide Coca-Cola in sales, until Coca-Cola simply acquired Inca Kola.

Less common are:

Refresco de camu camu: Refrescos are basically non-fizzy type and simple juices of various flavours often served with the set menu of the day at smaller restaurants. Besides camu camu, there are more common flavours such as orange juice.

Te de una de gato: a tea made from a plant from the Amazon, cat's claw (Uncaria tomentosa), known for its healing or medicinal properties.

Alcoholic Drinks

Pisco, a kind of brandy, is the national drink of Peru. This distilled beverage made from grapes is produced in various regions of the country. Pisco Sour is a cocktail made from pisco combined with key lime juice, the white of an egg and sugar.

Wines come from many different regions of the country, most notably from the Ica Region.

Beer as in many countries, is popular in all levels of society. Local brands include Pilsen and Cristal. A couple of regional beers are Arequipena and Cuzquena (Cusquena), from Arequipa and Cuzco, respectively; though Cuzquena is popular nationwide and is exported worldwide. A common beer drinking ritual among many Peruvian men involves a group sharing one glass. The party holding the bottle waits for the prior person to drink from the glass before receiving that glass, filling it and passing the bottle on to the next in line. While this custom is more common among men of lower echelons of society, people of higher social status, particularly youth and occasionally women, take part in this custom.

Chicha or Chicha de Jora is another well-known drink, based on different varieties of fermented maiz and different aromatic herbs, depending on the region of the country. Its consumption is mostly limited to the Andes area.

List of traditional Peruvian dishes

ceviche: raw fish filet cut into pieces and marinated in key lime juice, onions, and aji limo.

Cau-cau: cow stomach stew with potatoes, turmeric, and parsley. Sometimes served with peas.

Anticuchos: grilled brochettes of beef heart, macerated in vinegar and aji panca (hot pepper).

Lomo saltado: beef tenderloin slices, sauteed with onions, tomatoes, aji (hot peppers), and other spices. It is served with French fries and rice. Lima

Aji de gallina: a chicken stew made with cream, cheese, aji (hot pepper), and peanuts.

Causa rellena: mashed yellow potatoes seasoned with lime and aji (hot pepper), and filled with tuna or chicken.

Choros a la chalaca: mussels covered with diced onions and aji (hot pepper) and seasoned with key lime juice.

Leche de Tigre: Concentrated key lime juice, fish, and blended aji limo (hot pepper). It is the by-product of the ceviche preparation.

Tacu-tacu: Mixture of beans and rice, fried, and topped with breaded and pan-fried steak and an onion salsa.

Parihuela: concentrated soup of fish and shellfish. Purtumute: Boiled beans with mote sancochado (individual grains of corn boiled with cilantro).

Cuy con papas: Seasoned, cooked, and fried Guinea pig served with a potato stew, toasted peanuts, chopped onions and hot peppers.

Juanes de yuca: Grated and boiled yucca mixed with rice and either chicken or beef jerky; this mixture is wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed.

Tamales: Mashed corn filled with beef, wrapped in banana leaves, and steamed..

Humitas: Mashed corn filled with seasoned beef or cheese, wrapped in corn shucks and steamed.

Enrollado: Roast beef, rolled and stuffed with ground pork and chicken meat, raisins, and hard boiled egg.

Picante de cuy: barbecued guinea pig stew, seasoned with aji colorado or amarillo (hot peppers). There is an old variation called jaka cashqui or guinea pig broth.

Cuchicanca: Succulent pork meat marinated in vinegar and then roasted; it is served with boiled yellow potatoes and hominy (dried boiled corn).

Tamales Ancashinos: Mashed corn filled with beef wrapped in banana leaves.

Charqui: Dry salty pork meat.

Llunca kashki con gallina: Chicken broth with wheat.

Pecan caldo: ram head soup, cooked with mint and the feet and stomach or innards of the ram; it is served with boiled potato and/or hominy.

Tallarin Casero: homemade noodles served with a stew and kapchi of chuno (dehydrated potatoes).

Kapchi: Lima bean or mushroom stew with potatoes, milk, eggs, and cheese.

Papas con Uchullachua: boiled potatoes with aji (hot pepper) and huacatay (aromatic herb).

Rocoto Relleno: rocoto (hot pepper) without veins stuffed with chopped beef, eggs, peas, carrots, cheese, milk, and potatoes.

Huatia: beef and potatoes cooked on hot stones with huacatay (black mint).

Cuy relleno: Guinea pig stuffed with parsley, black mint, mint, oregano, green onions, cleaned and boiled innards, and crushed toasted peanuts.

Pepian de Cuy: stew made with Guinea pig meat, peanuts, and spices.

Chupe de camarones: chowder made with shrimp, milk, eggs, and oregano.

Soltero: a salad of fresh cheese, lima beans, onions, olives, tomatoes, and rocoto.

Adobo: pork marinated with concho de chichi (corn beer sediment) and spices, cooked in a pot.

Ocopa: boiled potatoes covered with a fresh cheese sauce, lima beans, onions, olives, and rocoto.

Escribano: potato salad, with rocoto, vinegar, oil, tomatoes, and parsley.

Pebre: soup with lamb, beef, and ram jerky.

Qapchi: an appetizer made with cachipa or fresh cheese, crumbled and mixed with aji (a hot pepper), rocoto (a hot pepper), milk, oil and diced onions. It is served on a bed of potatoes.

Mondongo ayacuchano: a soup with a base of hulled corn cooked all night long with beef, cow stomach, and bacon (cuchiqara). It is seasoned with aji colorado, (hot pepper), blended and toasted and diced mint.

Patachi: whole wheat soup made with bacon, beef and vegetables.

Puca picante: potato stew with peanuts, blended and toasted, seasoned with aji panca (hot pepper) and fried pork rinds. It is served with rice and salad.

Uman caldo: ram head soup, rice, potatoes and dehydrated potatoes. It is garnished with mint.

Cuy chactado: Guinea pig, breaded with corn flour and fried and served with golden potatoes and salad.

Pachamanca: different meats, potatoes, tender corn, lima beans and humitas (sweet tamales) cooked in a pit lined with heated stones in a pre-Hispanic style.

Teqtes: stew with a base of peas, pumpkin, quinua, lima beans, and dehydrated potato, seasoned with aji (hot pepper), garlic, fresh cheese, milk and eggs.

Pusra: toasted and blended barley soup with aromatic herbs, potatoes, peas, eggs, and milk.

Puchero: made with cabbage, fruit, chickpeas, sweet potatoes and yucca. It is usually prepared at Carnival.

Picante de papa con cuy frito: cooked Guinea pig stew in a peanut and aji panca (hot pepper) sauce accompanied with potatoes.

Chicharron con mote: pork rinds fried in their own fat and accompanied with hominy or corn.

Caldo verde: soup made with potatoes and aromatic herbs from the region.

Kapchi: lima bean or mushroom soup with potatoes, milk, eggs, and cheese.

Chicharron con mote: pork rinds fried in their own fat, served with hominy or individual kernels of sweet corn.

Saralawa: soup of fresh corn, lima beans, dry aji Amarillo (yellow hot pepper), and huacatay (native herb).

Chuno cola: beef soup with rice, garbanzo beans, and dehydrated potatoes.

Olluco con carne: Olluco stew with jerky or llama meat

Ropa vieja: Beef stew with beans, potatoes, rice, and cabbage.

Apanado de alpaca: Breaded alpaca meat, served with rice, potatoes, and salad.

Pachamanca: Different types of meat, potatoes, corn cooked in a pre-Hispanic style underground among super hot stones and seasoned with aromatic herbs.

Panes Huancaveliquenos: pumpkin buns, cheese pastries, wheat and achita breads

Locro de gallina: a stew made of chicken, onions, potatoes, and aji peppers.

Picante de cuy Huanuqueno: Guinea pig stew cooked in a peanut and an aji panca (hot pepper) sauce.

Pachamanca Huanuquena: pork, potatoes, yucca cassava, and sweet potatoes cooked in a pre-Hispanic style (on hot stones buried into the ground) and seasoned with aromatic herbs like wild sage.

Tacacho con cecina: roasted or fried banana mashed with butter and served with beef jerky.

Juane: rice with paprika and pieces of chicken wrapped in banana leaves.

Asado de picuro: roasted meat of tasty Amazonian rodent.

Inchicapi: chicken soup with peanuts, cilantro, and yucca cassava.

Pallares: A stew of savory butter beans seasoned with aji (hot pepper).

Morusa: Mashed butter beans with roast beef or pork.

Picante de Pallares: Spicy butter beans with milk, eggs and fresh cheese.

Carapulcra Iquena: Dehydrated potatoes, boiled and cooked with pork and chicken, aji panca and mirasol (chili peppers), garlic, and other spices.

Uman caldo: sheep head soup with mint and aji (hot pepper).

Yaku chupe or sopa verde: soup made with potatoes, cheese, eggs, and aromatic herbs.

Huallpa chupe: chicken soup with potato and rice.

Mondongo: beef soup with cow innards, pork rinds, corn, and parsley.

Patachi: wheat soup with beans, bacon, beef, and mint.

Pachamanca : variety of meats, potatoes, lima beans and humitas cooked in the pre-Hispanic style (on hot stones buried into the ground) and seasoned with aromatic herbs.

Chicharron Colorado: pork rinds fried in their own lard with an aji Colorado sauce (hot pepper).

Cordero al palo: a whole sheep on a spit grilled over glowing embers.

Asado de zamano, cutpe and sakino: roasted pork, Guinea pig, and peccary.

Chicharron de pescado de rio: fried pieces of river fish.

Cabrito con frijoles: Stew of tender baby goat meat marinated in chicha de jora (fermented corn liquor whose origins date back to a time before the Incas) and vinegar accompanied with beans served with fried onions and garlic.

Shambar: Soup made with wheat, pork rinds, smoked ham, assorted beans, and green onions. It is served with toasted corn (cancha) and is made only on Mondays.

Sopa teologa: turkey and/or chicken soup with moistened bread, potato, milk, and cheese.

Frejoles a la trujillana: Black beans with sesame seed and mirasol chili peppers.

Pepian de pava: Turkey stew with rice, tender blended corn, cilantro, and chili pepper.

Pescado a la trujillana: Steamed fish with an egg and onion sauce.

Tortilla de raya: egg tortilla made with dehydrated and re-hydrated ray meat.

Chinguirito: cebiche using the dry meat of the banded guitar fish.

Seco de cabrito con frijoles: stew made of tender baby goat meat marinated in chicha de jora (a fermented corn liquor whose origin dates back to the time before the Incas) and served with beans seasoned with fried onions and garlic.

Arroz con pato a la Chiclayana: tender duck meat cooked in black beer and cilantro.

Chirimpico: stew made from the innards of the baby goat, covered with onions, garlic, hot peppers, cilantro and squash, mixed with grains of tender corn.

Escabeche: pieces of fish or chicken marinated in vinegar and steamed with plenty of onions.

Carapulcra: boiled dehydrated potatoes made into a stew with pork and chicken, aji panca and mirasol (hot peppers), garlic, and other spices.

Sancochado: boiled beef with corn, sweet potato, carrots, cabbage, yucca, and potatoes.

Pescado a la chorrillana: fried fish in a tomato, onion, and white wine salsa.

Pescado a lo macho: fried fish in a shellfish sauce with aji (hot pepper) and garlic.

Ensalada de chonta o salad palmito (the palm stem is also called pona).

Timbuche: concentrated broth made from fish and cilantro.

Cecina: dried and salted beef or pork.

Patarashca: fire roasted fish wrapped in banana leaves.

Juane Loretano: Rice seasoned with turmeric, and chicken wrapped in banana leaves.

Tacacho: a dish of mashed and kneaded green, roasted bananas with fried pork rinds. Generally, it is combined with cecina.

Inchicucho: prepared with corn, peanuts, and aji (hot pepper).

Asado de venado: Roast deer meat with rice and green banana.

Tacacho con cecina: Crushed bananas mixed with lard then baked or fried. It is served with dry meat.

Asado de picuro: The exquisite meat of an Amazonian rodent roasted over charcoal.

Caldo de carachama: Thick soup made of carachama fish, with bananas and cilantro

Patasca moqueguana o caldo de mondongo: soup made with cow innards, corn, and mint.

Picante de cuy: Guinea pig stew cooked in a peanut and aji panca (hot pepper) sauce.

Chupe de camarones: Shrimp soup make with milk, eggs, and oregano.

Cebiche de jurel or mixto: raw fish and/or shellfish marinated in key lime juice. It is served with onions, potato, sweet potato, corn, and lettuce.

Chupin de pejesapo: soup with a base of onion, tomato, aji (hot pepper), and bumblebee catfish.

Sudado de machas: stew made with onions, tomato, aji (hot pepper), surf clam, white wine and vinegar. It is served with boiled potatoes.

Aguadito de mariscos: rice stew with vegetables with shellfish added.

Chicharron de pulpo: pieces of octopus, fried. It is served with onion salad, tomato, potatoes, and cooked sweet potatoes.

Picante de mariscos: a stew made with mashed potatoes and aji colorado (hot pepper), pieces of shellfish and sea weed (cochayuyo).

Cuy frito: Guinea pig breaded with corn meal and fried.

Picante de cuy: Guinea pig stew cooked in a peanut and aji panca pepper sauce.

Caldo de cabeza: ram head soup prepared with mint and aji peppers.

Seco de chabelo: beef jerky or dried beef stew with sweetened bananas.

Majado de yucca con chicharron: Cooked and crushed yucca with aji (hot pepper) and accompanied with chicharron (fried pork rinds).

Natilla: a typical dessert made from goats milk, chancaca (sugar syrup), and very fine rice flour.

Cancacho: roasted pork or lamb macerated in aji (hot pepper) and oil.

Pesque de quinoa: mashed quinoa seasoned with milk and cheese.

Chairo: Beef and lamb soup with potatoes, lima beans, squash, cabbage, chuno or dehydrated potatoes, wheat, and chalona or dried lamb.

Juanes de arroz: Chicken mixed with rice seasoned with spices and, wrapped in banana leaves.

Inchicapi: Chicken soup with peanuts, cilantro, and yucca.

Avispa juane: Chopped pork, mixed with garlic and spices, bound with egg and flour; this is boiled and wrapped in achira leaves like a tamale.

Tacacho con cecina: Crushed bananas mixed with lard then baked or fried. It is served with dry meat.

Chunchulijuane: Mashed yucca, cilantro, and chicken innards, wrapped in banana leaves.

Chontajuane: Mashed chonta, palm, and paiche (fish), wrapped in banana leaves.

Sarajuane: Mashed corn and peanut filled with pork, wrapped in banana leaves.

Choclo con queso: Boiled tender corn accompanies by fresh cheese.

Chicharron de chancho con maiz tostado: Fried pork rinds with toasted corn.

Patasca tacnena: A soup made with beef, pigs feet, wheat, yellow potato, squash, starch, and garlic.

Picante a la tacnena: A stew made with cow stomach, cows feet, beef jerky, onions, and oregano.

Cuy Chactado: Guinea pig, pan fried under a flat, heavy stone.

Pastel de choclo: Made with fresh corn, it can be either salty or sweet with raisins.

Adobo de Chancho: Pork, turmeric, ground garlic, vinegar, and salt.

Cebiches de conchas: scallops with lime, onion, and aji limo (hot pepper).

Aji de langostinos: prawns in a bread crumb and aji amarillo (hot pepper) sauce.

Chupe de cangrejo: crab chowder.

Majarisco: mashed green bananas with a shellfish sauce.

Sango de platano verde: made from black scallops and green bananas.

Caldo de bolas: stuffed banana balls

Patarashca: fish wrapped in banana leaves and charbroiled.

Picadillo de paiche: strips of dried and salted paiche fish meat served with onions, tomatoes, and aji (hot pepper).

Tacacho con cecina: roasted green banana with fried pork rinds. Served with smoked pork.

Pan con Chimbombo: Fish sandwich, mainly silverside fish.

Locro de Zapallo: mashed squash with corn, cheese, yellow potatoes and huacatay.

List of traditional Peruvian desserts

Alfajor de Penco

Alfeniques Lambayecanos



Arroz con leche

Arroz Zambito

Ayarampo (llipta).




Churros con manjarblanco

Crema Volteada

Dulce o compota de Camote.

Dulce de papaya

Frejol Colado


Humitas Dulces

Leche Asada


Mazamorra morada

Mazamorra de Cochino(tambien conocida como Mazamorra de maiz)

Machacado de Membrillo

Natillas Nortenas






Suspiro a la limena



Turron de Dona Pepa


List of Traditional Peruvian Drinks

Pisco Sour: typical Peruvian cocktail made with a pisco, lime and egg-white.

Chicha morada: alcohol-free drink of purple corn juice.

Cachina: Liquor based on fermented grape must.

Licor de mora: made from cordial, blackberries, and syrup.

Licor de leche: made from cordial and whey filtered drop by drop until transparent.

Pur Pur: made from cordial, fruit and pur pur seeds. Later, syrup is added.

Ponche: this punch is made with sesame seeds, chestnuts, almonds, peanuts, pecans, walnuts, grated coconut, vanilla, milk, cinnamon, clover, and sugar. It is served with grated coconut and a glass of pure distilled sugar cane juice.

Ponche Ayacuchano: drink of peanut, sesame, and other spices.

Chicha de jora: fermented corn drink, which origin and consumption predate the Incas.

Chicha de molle: fermented liquor of False Pepper fruit (also called Peruvian peppertree or molle)

Chicha de mani: fermented peanuts liquor.

Guarapo de cana: fermented and sweetened sugar cane juice.

Masato: Drink made of cooked, smashed, and fermented yucca cassava, with sweet potato or sugar.

Aguajina: made from mashed, filtered, and sweetened fruit of the aguaje palm tree.

Shibe: juice prepared with fermented and toasted yucca.

Huitochado: made with the "huito" fruit, sugar, and cordial.

Chuchuhuasi: cordial made from a bitter and astringent root, very popular in western Peru.

Siete Raices: made with bark from different trees like the Brazilwood, clove vine, breadfruit, huacapurana, chuchuhuasi, rosewood, and ipururo, sweetened with honey and macerated in cordial.

Coconachado: made from the cocona fruit, sugar, and cordial.

Huarapo: fermented sugar cane juice.

Pirana bite: made with rum and cocona.

Refresco de cocona: Juice of a common fruit from the area.

Refresco de aguajina: Delicious juice made with aguaje, edible fruit of a native palm tree.

Refresco de pihuayo: Juice made with the fruit of another native palm tree.

Chapo: made from ripened bananas, cooked and stirred, then served cold.

Macerado de damasco: peach liqueur made with pisco.

Leche de monja: liqueur prepared with a cordial, eggs, and key lime.

Chimbango de tres higos: liqueur prepared with red, black, and green figs.

Ponche de maca: drink made of maca, a local root with energizing properties.

Caliche: a type of distilled liquor.

Chuchuhuasi: Cordial made from a bitter and astringent root, very popular in western Peru.

List of Pisco Cocktails

Pisco Sour


Apple Pisco



Cholo Blanco

El Cholo Bravo


Tuna Sour


Aguaymanto Sour


El Carajo

Maraki on the Beach

Maraki Colada


Cafe Oxidado



Chilcanito de Manzana

La Sirenita

La Chola Picarona

La Zalamera

Sol y Sombra


Su Santidad


Pisco Punch

Mata Chola


Coca Sour


Potito Sour

El Lucumero


Cahuide Punch

Maraki Cafe

Cala Martini

Bull Pisco



Maraki Latte

Maraki Almendrado

Red Martini

Chilcano de Pisco

Aguaymanto Sour

Maki Maki





Cafe Quirichisqa

Mother Earth


Limena Mazamorrera

Pisco Collins


Costenito Sour

Morena Mia

Luz de Luna


Lulo Sour

Sour Apasionado

Chilcano de Anis

Cholo Negro

Maraki Ice Tea

Huaca del Sol y La Luna

Cocona Sour

Maraki Cooler

See also

Everything Peru- Directory of Peruvian Restaurants in Peru and around the world- Reviews and Ratings

Andean cuisine

Iperu, tourist information and assistance

Tourism in Peru


Platos Peruanos - A.B.C. S.A. Lima. Peru

External links

Everything Peru- Directory of Peruvian Restaurants in Peru and around the world- Reviews and Ratings

Peruvian Government website on Peruvian Gastronomy

Epicurious An article about Novoandina, a new trend in innovatively prepared Peruvian cuisine

The Peruvian Cuisine: a fusion of flavors Review of articles in the International media about the Peruvian Cuisine

The Art of Peruvian Cuisine Selection of recipes and photographs*

Foof of the Andes by the Golden Gate. The New York Times. 23.8.2009


A rich visual review of the most famous dishes of the Peruvian cuisine, and the products that make it possible. Produced by PromPeru, the official Peruvian Commission for the Promotion of Peru.


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