In Peru, you can find spicy, hearty entrees, milky and fruity desserts, and unique drinks that are as diverse as the terrain and the people. You don’t even need to stray too far from your comfort zone to enjoy most of them. While some travel writers insist that you must try guinea pig (cuy) to get a real taste of Peruvian food, it isn’t to everybody’s liking. Here are some dishes you may find much easier to swallow.
Savory Peruvian Foods to Excite the Palate
Seek out foods that the locals eat daily. On the coast, that’s seafood. Inland, it’s spicy, wholesome meat dishes. Watch for European, Asian, and West African influences.
Some salty favorites include:
- Ceviche – Raw fish marinated in citrus juices, red onion, and peppers.
- Causa – A mashed potato dumpling with tuna or chicken, served with hard eggs.
- Lomo Saltado – A beef stir-fry with onions, peppers, tomatoes, and more.
- Aji de Gallina – Strips of chicken, with a spicy sauce, cheese, milk, and bread.
- Anticuchos de Corazon – Spicy beef heart skewers, with bread or potato.
Exploring the Sweeter Side of Peru
Peruvian desserts and sweet treats vary by region, but as many travelers will tell you, the choices that follow are worth seeking out wherever you are.
For sweet sensations try:
- Suspiro a la Limeña – Made with milk, caramelized sugar, and meringue.
- Arroz con Leche – A rice pudding with condensed milk and cinnamon.
- Mazamorra Morada – Purple corn pudding with fruit and spices.
- Alfajores – Cornstarch cookie sandwiches with a creamy filling.
- Helados – Ice creams in various flavors, including exotics like prickly pear.
Peruvian Drinks to Quench Your Thirst
Peruvians often drink non-alcoholic beverages like Chicha Morada. You might also enjoy Inca Kola, which is an iconic Peruvian soft drink with a sweet and fruity flavor. The cherry-strawberry-flavored Kola Inglesa is also popular. For something with a bit of kick, try pisco, a yellowish-colored brandy made from distilled grape wine. Local wines are popular too around Peru, with many of the best coming from the Ica Region. Also look for local beer brands like Cristal, Pilsen Callao, Cusqueña, and Barena.
Explore When in Peru
For the very best food experience in Peru, step into the local shops and restaurants there and try the specials. Ask what’s good. Don’t be afraid to experiment a little. Peru is a rich and diverse land, and some of its greatest culinary accomplishments may be off the beaten path – ready for you to discover on your next trip.