Peruvian gastronomy is as legendary as the Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu. It’s as worth the trip as hiking Huaraz’s Cordillera Blanca and rafting the Tambopata River in the Amazon. In other words, Peruvian gastronomy will leave you with just as many colorful memories as the rest of your Peru holiday activities. But, what exactly should you try between adventure tours? Here’s a list of the 6 Peruvian dishes you absolutely cannot miss during your adventure in Peru:
When in traveling in Cusco, you must brave a plate of cuy (pronounced COOee), an Andean delicacy better known by westerners as guinea pig. You can enjoy it oven-baked (al horno) or fried (chactado), but however you choose to order it, this is a finger food through and through, so please leave the fork and knife where they are. The taste and the experience is a lot like eating rabbit, some have said. Up for the adventure of finding out for yourself?
It may come as a shock to you, but Peruvians love a good alpaca steak, alpaca anticucho, or even alpaca jerky for the trail. The lean and tender meat of the alpaca is low in cholesterol and fat and high in protein. Its flavor is reminiscent of buffalo and other grass-fed meats, but with a subtle sweetness to it. It’s a crowd pleaser for most who dare to try it.
From sopa de quinoa and quinoa risotto to quinoa beer, there’s a world of gluten-free deliciousness to keep you going on your Peru vacation. This ancient grain once fed the Inca Empire 5,000 years ago. Today, it’s still part of the daily diet in much of the Andes. Packed with protein, fiber, and minerals, it’s really as healthy it gets.
Have you ever eaten a meal that’s been cooked underground in an earthen oven? In Peru you can through the Pachamanca. Partly a ritual to Mother Earth (Pachamama) and partly an excuse to gather for a good meal, the Pachamanca requires a couple of hours to perfectly bake the spice-marinated lamb, mutton, pork, cuy, and vegetables on the hot stones underground. Once done, the oven’s opened and it’s melt-in-your-mouth Peruvian gastronomy at its finest.
You cannot go home from your Peru holiday without at least one taste of ceviche, Peru’s national dish. Thanks to the abundant Humboldt Current that flows just off Peru’s Pacific shore, there’s fish and seafood aplenty and the Peruvians have mastered the art of preparing it. A proper Peruvian ceviche involves marinating the raw fish or seafood in citrus juice, then spicing it up with some aji pepper and onion and serving it with a side of sweet potato or choclo, a white Andean crunchy corn kernel.
6. Lomo Saltado
This dish was born out of Peru’s Chinese immigrant population over a hundred years ago. Combining Chinese cooking techniques and ingredients with Peruvian ingredients, this fusion stir-fry of beef, tomatoes, peppers, and onions quickly earned its spot in the line up of typical Peruvian cuisine. If you need a carb-heavy meal before a big Andes trek, this is the dish for you.
Whether you’re considering booking a Peru vacation for the Peruvian gastronomy or for the outdoor adventure travel opportunities that await, Explorandes can help. Get in touch with us today!