Most people know Peru mainly as the home of the Machu Picchu and the Incas. Peruvian food is often underrated even though Lima is one of the food capitals of the world with a few of the best restaurants there are. But what is the typical Peruvian cuisine and where can travelers find an authentic local bite?
My first tip would be: do your research! Because what you would consider ‘international food’ might not be what it seems like. Peruvian food is very diverse. Firstly, it depends on the area: near the sea and Lake Titicaca, for example in Lima, Máncora or Puno, fish is the main focal point. In the Andes, one can find more lama and alpaca meat, as well as lots of quinoa. Secondly, Peru is a country with big groups of minorities. This has an influence on the food as well. In addition to the classic South American food such as roasted chicken with rice, beans, quinoa and the 3800 types of potato they use, Peruvian has two major influences: Japanese and Chinese.
Due to the high amount of Japanese and Chinese immigrants in South America, especially in Lima and Cusco, two streams of fusion food have developed within the Peruvian cuisine. They are called chifa (Chinese + Peruvian) and nikkei (Japanese + Peruvian). Lomo Saltado is one of the most popular dishes with Peruvians and visitors alike and part of the chifa kitchen. It’s a beef stir-fry on top of a portion of French fries and often accompanied by rice. Nikkei includes for example ceviche sushi or other typical Japanese dishes with Peruvian techniques and flavors.
A true local delicacy and one of the most famous dishes from Peru is ceviche – raw fish cured in lime juice and seasoned after the chef’s gusto. Often ceviche is served with corn on the side. The dish is traditionally eaten as lunch rather than dinner, because then the fish (which you eat basically raw) is fresh. Young Peruvians even go for ceviche when they come home from going out. They often go by the market in the morning to get the first servings of ceviche and they swear by the hungover-curing magic of the dish. There are many ceviche restaurants, but the best and freshest ceviche is to be found at the market according to the locals. There it is often prepared freshly in front of your eyes.
Ceviche, raw fish cured in lime juice, served with corn on te side.
Eat locally, an unforgettable experience!
If you’re not into street food or you’ve already eaten enough of it, ResiRest is another way to make sure to eat locally. Joining a local Peruvian family in their home for a meal, cooking together or even going to the market with them is an unforgettable experience. You also have the chance to learn more about local culture and traditions and get in contact with real local people. This also means the best hidden hotspots in town, because they know their own city best. In addition to eating a delicious homecooked local meal, you automatically support the family by booking with us. All the ResiRest families get an honest salary for their work.