Peruvian cuisine has traditional dishes such as ceviche, chicken rice, huancaína potato, Arequipa ocopa, chanfainita, red noodles, cau-cau, among others. The typical dishes of Peru are the result of miscegenation and the influence of Africa, Spain, Italy, China and Japan. Typical Peruvian meals are usually spicy and well seasoned, as the main ingredients are garlic, yellow chili, and aromatic herbs such as oregano and huacatay. In addition, the main dishes are usually accompanied by potatoes and rice.
Some of the most recognized typical dishes of Peruvian gastronomy are ceviche (raw fish and seafood marinated with lemon and pepper sauce, which is served with corn, sweet potatoes and onions) and rice with seafood. As for desserts, the manjar blanco along with rice pudding, purple porridge and picarones are the most traditional. Peru's flagship drink is pisco. Similarly, other typical Peruvian drinks are chicha morada and chicha de jora, as well as national beers such as Cuzqueña and Arequipeña.
The diversity of the gastronomy of Peru finds its reason for being, above all, in another diversity: that of its geography. Throughout its territory, especially around the Andes mountain range, there are a good number of altitudes where fruits, vegetables and a variety of vegetables are grown. These differences in height above sea level lead to the existence of various types of microclimates in the country and, with them, lands that can cultivate a wide range of raw materials.
Besides its proximity to the geographical equator, its coastline on the Pacific Ocean is added to the particularity of its altitudinal floors. Its cold waters and the currents of this great body of water are the ideal habitat for a good number of varieties of shellfish and fish that make Peru one of the main fishing countries in the world. Both determining factors, the main and essential ones, are responsible for the fact that from the beginning this vast territory has been remarkably rich gastronomically speaking.
In the ancient world, the central Peruvian Andes were one of the epicenters of plant domestication. From them come some species that are universal today, such as tomatoes, squash, cherimoya, potatoes and their many varieties, corn ... and others that are not so universal, but cannot be absent in influenced kitchens. for Latin American flavors, such as peanuts, cassava, avocado, beans, sweet potato, cassava or quinoa, which are currently very popular. All of them still present in its gastronomy.
Yet another diversity, that of the cultures that made up the Inca Empire, prior to the arrival of the Spanish, also shaped the future of the history of Peruvian cuisine and its current present. Although they shared common elements, similar practices when cooking, such as using, for example, condiments such as cocha yuyo, salt or the famous chili pepper, today more than essential as a distinctive feature, or dehydrating many foods thus avoiding their decomposition, each one of the towns had their own dishes and customs that normally only they possessed. A heritage complex that unfortunately we are partially aware of.
The diet that the majority had was based on the consumption of large quantities of the abundant fish and shellfish present on their coasts, vegetables of the many that they cultivated throughout their history and the ingestion of some meats, such as ducks, domestic camelids. like the llama, deer or even some kind of lizard, especially on the north coast of the country. All these raw materials could be served in the form of soups, stews such as carapulca, which is considered the oldest in Peru, the fish could be salted, grains such as corn were also roasted and they were used from clay pots to natural earth ovens to cook. Also, in this pre-colonial period, different types of beer made from abundant corn and also yucca were consumed.
With the arrival of the Spaniards and the establishment of the Viceroyalty of Peru, as happened in other territories conquered by the Spanish Empire, different uses and customs were incorporated into the local cuisine, mimicking, mixing, without taking the limelight and simply, in the majority of the cases, enriching itself at the same time as it was expanded and complemented. Today, for example, many would not understand ceviche without the Peruvian lemon and, this citrus fruit, is the result of the introduction of the lime from Europe and its evolution to the local variety, of an intense green color, small size and high acidity. Equally decisive was the arrival of sugar to those lands, the construction of convents and the abundance of fruits in the environment, which led to the emergence of a prosperous pastry tradition, common to other Hispanic countries, where sweets such as manna or el caramel cookie.
Today Peruvian cuisine preserves much of the legacy left by those who inhabited the empire prior to the conquest and the set of dishes that emerged after it. If not totally, yes in part thanks to this assimilation of new techniques and new ingredients, old preparations currently survive, especially in the most rural areas of the country. It is the wealth that we have not stopped talking about, the heritage that gives luster to Peru and made Lima, within the framework of the 2006 Madrid Fusion Summit, the gastronomic capital of America. Food is one more flag of Peruvians, from the most traditional recipes to the cuisine practiced in the best restaurants, promoters of innovations and avant-garde through haute cuisine.
One of the most popular dishes today, surely the one most consumed in the country, is grilled chicken. Basically we are talking about a roast chicken, similar to the one consumed in other parts of the planet, using coal, firewood or gas as fuel and some kind of tool that makes it rotate in front of the heat source. In this case, in Peru, gutted chicken is macerated with different herbs and spices, being served with fried potatoes, salads, sauces such as chili pepper or even fried plantain. Presenting this companion is common in the country's jungle, thus renouncing potatoes. The recipe is also considered a "Culinary Specialty of Peru" by the National Institute of Culture.
How not to talk about ceviche, also called ceviche, seviche or even sebiche. It is declared a Cultural Heritage of the Nation and is also one of the most consumed, in addition to being especially fashionable in countries like Spain. In the different regions that make up Peru there are different varieties, also reinterpretations made by renowned chefs who innovate with it, but all tend to always start from a fairly identical base and accepted by all. The most essential recipe would consist of chunky fish, both from the sea and from the river, lemon juice, chili, red onion and salt, often including shellfish, seaweed or other more conventional types of vegetables. The rest of the ingredients are already those of each place or each cook: from lettuce to avocado, from yucca to mountain field. It is a dish with many possibilities and it shows, without forgetting, of course, the tiger's milk that bathes and composes it.
The Lima cause is also essential, one of the most famous and consumed cold dishes in Peruvian gastronomy, consisting of a base of potato, lemon, chili, boiled egg, lettuce, avocado and olives mainly, admitting other variants depending on the area and version.
We ended up remembering the chaufa rice, one of the elaborations that are part of the Chifa cuisine, that fusion between Peruvian food and that carried by Chinese migrants from Canton. It is a fried rice, very similar to the typical Chinese gastronomy, in which the cereal is sautéed with a very live fire and then different ingredients are added. There is chaufa rice of chicken, fish, pork, shellfish, prawns, lizard and even alligator, there is also a variant in which the rice is replaced by quinoa. Ancestral flavors, to a great extent, that have evolved over time and places taking on their own personality.
The coastal cuisine is divided into marine and Creole food. The best known meals are made based on shellfish or fish. The most representative typical dishes of the coast of sea food are shrimp chupe (Arequipa), ceviche, choritos a la chalaca (Callao), tiradito, leche de tigre, leche de tigre, stretcher and others.
As for the typical dishes of the coast of Creole food, there is the ají de gallina, the carapulca, the chicken pickle, the rice with chicken, the tacu-tacu, the rice with duck, the cau cau, the lomo saltado , grilled chicken, Cause a la Lima, anticuchos, among others.
The food of the sierra has as its main ingredients corn, potatoes and other tubers. Some of the most representative dishes of Andean cuisine are pachamanca, huatia, huancaína potato, ocopa and others.
The cuisine of the jungle is characterized by the traditional consumption of meats such as huangana, suri, tapir, armadillo, turtles, woolly monkeys and among others.
The most popular dishes of the Peruvian jungle cuisine are juanes, tacacho con cecina, inchicapi, patarashca and chonta salad.
Pisco is considered the national drink of Peru and comes from 8 different types of grapes: the Quebranta grape, the Uvina grape, the Mollar grape, the Negra Criolla grape, the Italia grape, the Albilla grape, the Moscatel grape and the Torontel grape.
Note: With pisco you can make the traditional pisco sour cocktail, as well as punch from the liberators, pisco punch, tacna sour and chilcano.
Chicha morada is a traditional Peruvian soft drink and is native to the Andean region of the country. Some of the ingredients that are used are purple corn, pineapple, apples, cinnamon, lemon and others.
Note: Chicha morada is such a popular drink in Peru that it can be found in any restaurant in the city or the country and can be served with any typical Peruvian dish.
Coca tea is a traditional infusion of the Andean regions of Peru, however, other countries such as Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile and Argentina also consume it.
Note: Coca tea serves as a stimulant to cure soroche or mountain sickness, that is why most hotels in the Andean regions of the country offer tourists this infusion.
Chicha de jora is a fermented and traditional drink in Peru and in other countries such as Bolivia and Ecuador. Its main ingredient is malted corn and it is technically considered a craft corn beer.
Note: Chicha de jora is consumed especially in the rural areas of the north and the highlands of Peru. On the other hand, the presentation of the drink is usually in artisan vessels or containers called "potos" or "cojuditos".
Picarones are traditional sweets in Peruvian cuisine and their presentation is in the form of rings made of wheat flour dough, pumpkin and sweet potato bathed with the sweet of the sugar cane called chancaca.
The picarones are usually offered in the religious processions of the country, especially in the procession of the Lord of Miracles in Lima.
Suspiro a la limeña is a traditional Peruvian dessert that originates from the city of Lima. Suspiro a la Lima is a sweet cream based on milk, sugar, egg yolk and vanilla essence, covered with meringue based on egg whites, port wine and sugar.
Suspiro a la limeña is usually served in a glass, first the cream and then the meringue and is accompanied by cinnamon powder to decorate.
The purple mazamorra is a typical dessert in Peruvian cuisine and its preparation is based on concentrated purple corn with cornstarch. The dessert is usually accompanied by rice pudding and called "classic" or "combined".
The purple porridge is a quite nutritious dessert, since it contains a large amount of fiber in its nuts and thanks to this it helps to avoid constipation.
Zambito rice is an original dessert from Peru and its origin derives from rice pudding. The dessert basically consists of rice pudding plus pecans, golden raisins and chancaca, the latter being the one that adds the characteristic brown color of zambito rice.
Zambito rice is very healthy, as it provides the body with minerals such as calcium, iodine, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, zinc and iron, as well as having vitamins and other essential nutrients for the body.