Peruvian cuisine is unique and diverse as they retain their traditional flavors and also have influences of different parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Of the several countries, touches of Spain, China, and Japan remain prominent in many of the vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes of Peru. Potatoes, corns, and legumes are some of the main ingredients found in its cuisine, while meat and rice are a result of Spanish influence. The list that follows throws light on the irresistible dishes of Peru.
What is it: A Peruvian version of Chinese rice, having fried rice as its primary component, along with vegetables as well as eggs, chicken, and scallion. The ingredients, prepared using a high flame, are seasoned with oil and soy sauce. This one is a perfect example of a Chifa-styled dish since it is an amalgamation of Chinese and Peruvian elements. In some areas of Peru, rice is often substituted with quinoa or even combined with noodles. Beef, duck, pork, fish, and seafood can serve as replacements for chicken.
What does it taste like: Savory, and spicy, with the choices of meat altering its taste.The addition of soy sauce gives it a sweet-salt flavor.
What is it: A delicious appetizer prepared by boiling yellow potatoes and blending them with a creamy and spicy huancaina sauce (made with cheese, yellow pepper, vegetable oil, salt, and evaporated milk). People mostly eat it cold as a starter. The potatoes are placed over lettuce leaves, with garnishes of hard-boiled eggs, white corn kernels, and black olives. In south Peru, ocopa sauce is used instead of the huancaina variety, made from toasted peanuts, onions, tomatoes, and condensed milk. Though it gets its name from Peru’s Huancayo city, it actually originated in Lima. At present, it is a sought-after picnic food throughout the country.
What does it taste like: A creamy, spicy delight, with the delicious sauce and lip-smacking flavors of the ingredients creating a beautiful fusion in your mouth.
What is it: A fried guinea pig dish of Peru, mostly famous in the highlands. Potato and salads serve as accompaniments with this lip-smacking dish.
What does it taste like: Crunchy and crispy, satisfying your taste buds completely.
What is it: A tasty stew prepared with ulluku (finely diced vegetable) and meat pieces. This enticing dish is served with hot rice. Traditionally llama’s meat was used, though at present it is made using sheep’s meat. A tasty stew prepared with ulluku (finely diced vegetable) and meat pieces. This enticing dish is served with hot rice. Traditionally llama’s meat was used, though at present it is made using sheep’s meat. Charqui refers to the technique of preparing meat by salting and then dehydrating it.
What does it taste like: The crisp texture of ulluku in combination with the rich flavor of the meat makes it appear increasingly mouthwatering.
What is it: It is also known as sebiche, cebiche, or seviche. Ceviche is a seafood platter, made by curing raw fish in citrus fruit juices, mostly lime. Chilli peppers, aji, coriander, chopped coriander, and salt serve as seasonings. This is popular in western Latin America’s Pacific coastal areas and often considered as Peru’s national dish. However, there is a lot of dispute over its place of origin. It has gained popularity at present throughout America, with each area presenting a variation of its own. Traditionally it would take almost 3 hours for marinating ceviche, which has significantly reduced in modern times.
What does it taste like: Fresh and citrusy, though the addition of pepper could make it a little spicy.
What is it: A well-known street food of Peru, often sold in carts, this is a meat dish mostly made from beef heart, though other varieties of meat may even be used. The marination of the meat is done in vinegar alongside a host of spices like aji pepper, garlic, and cumin. The meat is placed on the skewers, while bread or boiled potatoes are attached to the end. Anticuchos are mostly accompaniments, often served with grilled meats, salads, sausages, and potatoes. Though eaten throughout the year, people mostly eat it in Peru during July while celebrating Independence Day.
What does it taste like: Rich, smoky, and spicy, are the basic flavors inherent in this dish.
What is it: It is a stir-fried dish with marinated sirloin strips as its main ingredient, apart from French fries, tomatoes, and onions. People mostly serve this dish with rice. This one is another cuisine of the chifa tradition, possessing a blend of Peruvian as well as Chinese dishes.
What does it taste like: It is juicy and savory, with the onions and pepper making it crisp, while tomatoes make it soft and tart.
What is it: A stuffed pepper dish having Spanish influence, which gained popularity in Peru’s Arequipa region. Due to the unavailability of Spain’s sweet peppers in Peru, rocoto peppers serve as a substitute, cooked in vinegar and water for eliminating its spiciness to the maximum. Stuffing used for this pepper includes pork, garlic, beef, margarine, onion, pecan, cream, and even a hard-boiled egg, which are often many people’s choices.
What does it taste like: Soft and smooth, it is a blend of spicy and cheesy flavors, with its main USP lying in its striking color and appealing presentation.
What is it: It is a sought-after Peruvian stew, with chicken as its main ingredient, cooked in spices, yellow chilli peppers, walnuts, turmeric, and garlic. Regarded as a comfort food, this dish is served along with black olives, boiled potatoes, and rice. This chicken stew dish got introduced to Peru in the 16th century by the African slaves, brought to the country by Spanish settlers. Traditionally, potatoes and leftover chicken went into the preparation of the dish. In the present times, tuna, and turkey often go as a replacement for chicken.
What does it taste like: Rich and creamy, with the inclusion of yellow peppers making it appear mildly spicy.
What is it: A layered casserole, having potatoes as the main ingredients at the top and bottom, mixed and seasoned with aji amarillo (Peruvian yellow pepper), and lemon juice. The choice of stuffing for the layers could be anything from chicken and tuna, to crab, shrimp, lobsters, and even avocado. It gets its name from the Peruvian term kausaq, meaning giver of life, while rellena in Spanish means filled or stuffed.
What does it taste like: The freshness of lime and the creaminess of the fillings makes its taste immensely amazing.
What is it: A fried seafood dish, mostly made with shrimp, fish, squid, and octopus. It is marinated with lime juice and mostly served with corn, onion, and tomato salad. Jlalea in Spanish translates to jelly, though, however, one should not go by its name and regard it as a dessert since it is a savory platter. The batter plays a significant role in jlalea, with flour being the common option, though the inclusion of beer makes it crisp and light.
What does it taste like: Mostly eaten as an appetizer or starter, it has a lemony, crispy, and crunchy taste.
What is it: A well know Peruvian dish, made using fish fillets, seasoned with white wine alongside tomatoes, garlic, paprika, and onions. This dish is garnished with parsley, and lemon slices, and served along with sliced boiled yucca, boiled potatoes, and white rice.
What does it taste like: Soft and delicious, every bite melting into your mouth, with the addition of several spices making it immensely tangy.
What is it: A typical Peruvian dish, traditionally prepared by seasoning leftover rice with Canary beans and then frying them like a patty in a large skillet. Though mostly served with onion sauce, fried eggs and leftover meat also include as accompaniments.
What does it taste like: Toasty and crispy on the outside, and tender within. The broth of the beans and rice should be used, and in case that is not available, one can go for chicken stock.
What is it: A spicy green sauce prepared using cilantro, jalapeno, spicy peppers, garlic, lime, nutty cheese, and mayonnaise. You can team this delicious sauce with rice and beans, roasted or grilled vegetables, tacos, potatoes fries, and scrambled eggs.
What does it taste like: Spicy, tangy and cheesy, with every bit of it loaded with freshness.
What is it: A traditional beef stew that gained popularity in Peru from its colonial-era was introduced to the country by the slaves. Besides beef that is mostly used, chicken, fish, goat, or lamb may serve as replacements. Seco means dry in Spanish, and it has been named because of the cooking technique involved in its preparation. The ingredients are cooked on low heat to lessen the liquid and attain a thick consistency. Apart from beef, ground cumin, finely chopped onions, green peas and cilantro leaves (giving it its green color) also goes into the making of this dish. One could eat this dish along with white rice, plantain fry, and bean stew.
What does it taste like: Fresh, and delicious, with the addition of various spices making it increasingly aromatic.
What is it: A dish made from fried pork rind or belly. Mutton, beef, and chicken may be used as alternatives. It can be served for breakfast or even brunch along with an onion relish as well as lime juice. The rind remains unused, with the meat being boiled along with spices and seasonings till there is no water left, The platter is then fried with the meat’s own fat.
What does it taste like: It depends on the amount of meat and fat left and could vary from cheesy, meaty to crunchy, melting into one’s mouth instantly.
What is it: A sweet bread studded with dried fruits, mostly eaten during Christmas along with hot chocolate. Chocoton is its variation where chocolate chips replace the dried fruits. Since Christmas in Peru is hot, coffee, or a drink served cold, often act as a substitute for hot chocolate.
What does it taste like: Light and sweet, with the addition of dried fruits making it all the more delicious.
What is it: A sweet dish made with cassava flour, molasses, and anise, wrapped in dry leaves and served cold. Chappuni, in Peru, means to knead, which refers to its preparation process.
What does it taste like: The sweet fragrance of anise is present in every bite you take.
The names given above are just a small number of the wide array of dishes this country boasts. Besides, chifa, a blend of Chinese and Peruvian food, we can even find Nikkei dishes, a result of Japanese-Peruvian food fusion. Other significant dishes include Butifarras (Peruvian ham sandwich), Cau Cau (rice and stew meal), and Anticuchos (beef heart brochettes).
Hello there! My name is Jay and I run this website. I'm a full-time traveler and freelance writer. This is where I share travel advice and help people pursue their traveling dreams.
You can learn more about me and my mission on the about me page.
It's nice to have you here :)