Peru is the first foreign country that grabbed a piece of my heart. I went there on a mission trip when I was 16 and while I was there I fell in love with the culture, the people, the views, and of course, the food. Peruvian food is as colorful as it is flavorful. The variety of food in Peru is incredible. There aren’t a ton of Peruvian restaurants where I’m from, or anywhere that I’ve been in the USA. I get asked a lot if Peruvian food is like Mexican food and the answer that is no. In order to try real Peruvian food, you might have to drive a couple of hours to a small restaurant in a big city. OR, even better, you could travel to Peru.
If you ever get the chance of traveling to the beautiful country of Peru, please, by all means, jump at it. It’s a lovely, lovely country, where a huge piece of my heart still remains. With that being said, keep reading to discover delicious Peruvian foods.
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*I took a lot of these pictures a SUPER long time ago (like 4 years) and my camera skills were B.A.D*
Aji de Gallina
Aji de gallina is a popular dish made with gallina (chicken) and Aji Amarillo (Peruvian yellow chili peppers). The chicken gets simmered in yummy broth, shredded, and served with potatoes over rice. The peppers get made into a yummy creamy sauce. Afterwards, the sauce is lavished over the chicken and rice and finally, the dish gets adorned with hardboiled eggs and black olives. This dish is yummy, creamy and filling. If you want to try your hand at making it, you can get some aji Amarillo paste to make the whole process A LOT easier.
Lomo Saltado is one of MY personal favorite dishes. Why? Because it combines two of the best two things in the world. This super yummy Peruvian dish combines stir fry and french fries. It is made out of beef, vegetables, rice, and of course, French fries. All of the ingredients are mixed together along with delicious Peruvian spices. Put this dish on your food bucket list!
Caldo de Gallina (Peruvian Hen Soup)
I am becoming such a fan of other countries’ soups. I’m probably going to just dedicate a post to the best worldwide soups. If you want to read about Chinese soup check out this post.
Caldo de Gallino can either be an appetizer or a whole meal. It’s chicken noodle soup on a completely different level. A noodle similar to spaghetti noodles gets soaked in broth with chicken, potatoes, oregano, garlic, and various other spices. The soup is served with hard boiled eggs, lemon, and my favorite, Inka Corn.
These delicious little inside out popcorn kernels are salty, crunchy healthy, and literally the food of heroes. Inka Corn was a staple food within the Inka Civilization. The kernels come straight from Cuzco. It’s kind of cool knowing that when you eat Inka Corn, you are eating a snack that has been around for more than 500 years. I’m so happy because Inka Corn is one of the few Peruvian foods you can actually get in America.
Fish may or may not be your thing, but regardless, if you go to Peru, you cannot not try Ceviche. While Ceviche is popular in the Caribbean and other Latin American countries, Ceviche is the generally considered the birthplace of the dish. Ceviche is made of fish marinated in lemon and lime juice. The acidic properties of the lemon and limes cook the fish.
Papa a la Huancaina
This dish is a favorite amongst both tourists and locals. I was served this dish A LOT while I was in Peru, and definitely never complained! This dish combines potatoes and a special Peruvian Huancaina sauce. The Huancaina sauce is made out of aji Amarillo paste, cheese, cream, and some other Peruvian spices. The sauce is spicy, cheesy, savory and creamy. It goes perfectly on top of the potatoes. Papa a la Hauncaina is usually served with chicken and rice, or noodles with green or red sauce. No matter what you serve it with, you can’t go wrong.
The dish of Antichuchos originated up in the Andes mountains and spread in popularity throughout Peru. I did not ever get to try Antichuchos, and that’s okay because I probably would have passed anyway. As a general rule of thumb, I tend to stay away from Organ meat. Antichuchos do look delicious though. They are basically skewered pieces of beef heart tenderloin covered in dry chili and oil, cooked over hot stones. Antichchos are typically served with the Aji Amarillo sauce. The dish sounds and looks really good. Therefore, if you’re an adventurous eater, definitely give this dish a try!
Pollo A La Brasa
Pollo A La Brasa is one of the most popular foods in Peru. When this dish is served, everyone gets excited. In fact, when I was asking my Peruvian friends about their favorite foods for this post, ALL of them said Pollo A La Brasa like the first thing. Plus when I was in Peru, I remember being served this dish a lot! In short, it is rotisserie charcoal chicken. It is actually super yummy. It can be served with eggs, french fries, yucca fries, rice, plantains, papa a la Huancaina, or whatever else you want.
Tallarin Chifa de Pollo
This dish gets its roots from Asia. However, the Peruvians adopted it, adapted it, and made it their own. This unique Peruvian food contains stir fried veggies like snow peas, bok choy (the weird veggie no one ever knows how to ring up at the grocery store) and chicken. A unique Asian-Peruvian sauce is used in the mix. It gives the dish a unique flavor that has an Asian/South American feel. My boyfriend (who is from China) even approved.
Pachamanca is popular in the mountains of Peru (aka the Andes). In fact, the name isn’t even Spanish. The name is from the native Peruvian language, Quechua. This dish is a fusion of different kinds of meat, potatoes, yucca, and sweet potatoes. The really cool thing about this dish is the way in which it is cooked. Typically, pachamanca is cooked over hot stones. The stones get heated by fire, and the then the food gets cooked on top. It’s a super unique dish that not only speaks to the diversity of Peruvian cuisine but also the historicity of the country of Peru, itself.
Alfajores are a delicious dessert found all over South America. They’re super popular in Peru. They’re made with a smooth, powdered sugar cover dough with dulce de leche sandwiched in between. These things are sooo incredibly good! My boyfriend and brother (who both don’t like dessert) really liked Alfajores. If you try anything, let it be these sweet little circles of love.
Every country has their unique renditions of soda. Peru’s most famous Cola product gets its name from the famous Inka Empire. Inka Cola’s main ingredient is lemon verbena. It has a really unique flavor that is somewhat similar to bubble gum. This was by far the most popular soda in Peru when I was there. The more you drink it, the more you like it. There is a whole lot to like about this yummy Peruvian beverage. It’s really hard to get your hands on this stuff in America, but Amazon does sell it if you ever wanted to give it a try.
Chicha Morada is a drink indigenous to Inca Peru. It’s made with pineapple, cinnamon, clove, sugar, and the main ingredient, purple corn. It looks a lot like grape juice, in fact, that’s what I thought it was until I tasted it. As it turned out, Chicha Morada has a super unique sour flavor. I enjoyed sipping it with my meal, while my Peruvian friends preferred to chug it. Whichever you prefer, this beverage will give you a unique experience that will deepen your appreciation for Peruvian flavors and culture.
This famous alcoholic beverage got its name from the little city in Peru where I spent the majority of my time. Pisco is the sweetest little city with the sweetest people. However, the alcohol there is strong. I’m not super into alcoholic beverages (I’m under 21) so even when I went to I didn’t have it on my heart to drink. I actually didn’t even try Pisco Sour until I went to China and still didn’t like it a whole lot. But if you’re into trying new alcoholic beverages, give Pisco Sour a try. It is definitely very poignant and represents its name sour. (You can check out the recipe in the photo to make it yourself).
Please Consider Supporting Peru
I’ll never forget the time that I spent in Peru. The culture, the people, the food are all individually worth the trip. One thing to remember is that some parts of Peru are still very poor, and some parts have been consistently hit by natural disasters. I was so glad to be able to go and serve there when I went on my trip. If you’re looking for a worthy cause to donate, please consider donating the Fowlers in Peru. Go to their page and check out their ministry. It’s run by a family that deeply cares about sharing the gospel as well as providing life necessities to the poor. Supporting his ministry is giving hope to people without it, giving shoes, blankets, and clean water to flood victims and other people who desperately need it
That’s a wrap, guys! What do you think about Peruvian food? Have you ever been to Peru? If you have any experiences with Peruvian food or culture please share in the comments! What is your favorite Peruvian dish?
ALSOO, if you wanna check out some super interesting Chinese foods head over to –> THIS POST