The food is Peru is nothing short of amazing. It is tasty and varied with plenty of regional specialities. There are plenty of traditional favourites including Peru’s own variety of Chinese food – called Chife. There are also some more unusual options including Guinea Pig – Cuy. Our week spent in a homestay in Cusco meant we tried a lot of local home cooked Andean food, however it was the seafood on the coast that really bowled us away.
It was tough to pick our top choices and there are plenty of delicious choices beyond our list here – tuck in!
Cerviche is a delicious dish made from raw fish or seafood which rather than being cooked with heat is ‘cooked’ using acid – typically lemon juice. Mixed with onion, garlic and usually chilli and coriander – this dish is fresh and healthy. It is usually served with boiled sweet potato, boiled corn and fried corn. Once we reached the coast I probably ate cerviche twice a day – I cannot get enough of it. We also had a go at making it with our friends in Lima.
Our picks: everywhere close to the sea (or a river). Lima and Paracas in particular had great cerviche on offer however our first try was near the central market in Arequipa, at number 302 Pierola (pictured above).
Adobo is a delicious soup made from pork and chilli. It can be found in many chicharronerias which are shops which primarily sell deep fried pork called chiccarron. The soup itself is quite thick (I think thickened with maize) and rich. It is spicy and ours contained a spicy hot rocoto chilli along with some potato and a couple of lumps of tasty pork.
Our pick: we found great adobo near Qorikancha in Cuscoon Pampa de Castillo. Here we went to a busy chicharroneria with a menu outside with a cartoon pig – however there are many other options on this street.
Chupe de Pescado
This is a tasty kind of fish soup with a rich, creamy and slightly spicy broth. There are many kinds of fish and seafood chupe and other soups – any that we tried were delicious.
Our pick: in Paracas, at the end of the main beach is a line of about 20 small restaurants where we had a great chupe de pescado.
3. Chicharron de mariscos
Chicharron, as mentioned in the adobo section, is deep fried food. It is often pork but chicharron de mariscos is made with mariscos – sea food. Delicious squid, shrimps and scallops, but we were not so keen in the limpet.
Our pick: again in Paracas we had a great dish at one of the restaurants directly in front of the beach
4. Delicious camarones with garlic
I did say we went a bit mad in seafood in Peru. We had lots of delicious camarones – shrimps. We had this delicious dish of cooked prawns in garlic, it had a real tapas flavour about it.
Our pick: a really tasty restaurant in Lima called Canta Rana on Genova 101 in Barranco.
5. Picarones and chica morada
Picarones are like Peruvian donuts made from sweet potato (don’t ask me how) and chica morada is a tasty purple drink made from purple maize, pineapple and orange. The two go great together as a sweet treat however chica morada is widely available on its own.
Our pick: Ruinas restaurant on the corner of Ruinas (street) in Cusco specialises in these delights.