Five destinations in Peru for food lovers
Arroz con pato (Manchamanteles/PromPerú)
By Nick Rosen
July 24, 2012
There are many good reasons to visit Peru, but one of the chief ones is to eat very, very well. As a diverse country, however, Peru has a number of regional cuisines, which means that a trip beyond Lima can reveal a number of unique dishes. Here are five destinations in Peru for foodies.
Ayacucho is littlee-visited by tourists, but as a city that preserves its cultural heritage with great devotion, it is one of the best places to sample traditional Andean dishes. The region’s star dish is puca picante, which sees local potatoes smothered in a spicy peanut sauce, served alongside chicharrón. Another unique dish is qapchi, which combines Andean cheese with hot peppers and scallions.
Ayacucho is also a great place to sample cuy- guinea pig- and pachamanca, in which meats, potatoes, lima beans and sweet potatoes are mixed with Andean herbs and cooked in an earthen oven. If you need a sweet bite, try the muyuchi, the local ice cream. The name means “stirring” in Quechua, and when you see the old women stirring it in copper pots in Ayacucho’s plaza, you’ll understand why.
Located in a rich valley at the country’s southern end, Arequipa developed its cuisine separately from the rest of Peru. Perhaps influenced by the volcanoes looming over the city, Arequipa’s cooks have given many of the city’s unique dishes a fiery touch with local rocoto peppers.
Rocoto relleno (Enrique Castro-Mendívil/PromPerú)
One local favorite is solterito, a refreshing salad made from potatoes, corn, cheese, tomato, onion, rocoto, lima beans, oil, vinegar and herbs. Another winning appetizer is ocopa, in which boiled potatoes are covered by a sauce seasoned heavily with the local black mint, called huacatay. The most famous of all Arequipeño appetizers is the rocoto relleno, in which a rocoto pepper is stuffed with ground beef and other ingredients, and served alongside potato and cheese.
Arequipa is a great place to get river shrimp, which are served in a number of ways, most famously in a chowder called chupe de camarones. On Sunday, don’t miss the famed adobo, a spicy pork stew which serves as an excellent hangover cure.
Pucallpa is one of several places to sample the unique cuisine of Peru’s jungle. There are a number of delicious offerings, including juanes, which wrap rice, chicken and other spices inside a leaf before being cooked; tocacho, a ball of plantain and other ingredients; and cecina, a kind of cured ham.
Tacacho with cecina (Carlos Ibarra/PromPerú)
One special dish is patarashca, in which a river fish is seasoned with jungle fruits, wrapped in a bijao leaf, and cooked over a flame. Many of the dishes in Pucallpa are served with a delicious salsa made from the cocona fruit, and are washed down with a refreshing glass of camu camu juice.
Surrounded by productive farms and rich seas, it is little wonder that the biggest city in Lambayeque is a food-lover’s dream. One unique twist to cuisine in this region is the heavy use of duck, as in the emblematic arroz con pato.
Tortilla de raya (Manchamanteles/PromPerú)
Lovers of seafood will not be disappointed, either. Chiringuito takes a traditional ceviche and gives it a unique spin, replacing the normal raw fish with dried and salted guitar fish. You should also try the tortilla de raya, an omelette made with dried ray meat. As a dessert, you can eat the famed King Kong, which earn their name from their immense size.
Some people consider Cusco the birthplace of chicharrón, but what puts it on the foodie map is its unique Novo Andina cuisine. Starting with traditional local ingredients like quinoa, trout and alpaca, innovative chefs have incorporated ingredients and techniques from Europe and Asia to create a modern, unique cuisine.
Trout ceviche (Juan Puelles/PromPerú)
This list is hardly exhaustive; a true foodie exploration of Peru would have to include the black conch ceviche of Tumbes, the rich stews of Trujillo, the duck ceviche in the Norte Chico and a hundred other delicious plates. For food lovers, it’s time to hit the road and discover all that Peru has to offer.
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Total coments: 8
Commented By: JIMMYJAMES
On: July 24, 2012. 4:32 pm
YES PERU HAS SO MUCH TO OFFER! REMEMBER, LIMA HAS RESTAURANTS REPRESENTING ALL OF THESE AREAS AND MORE, SO ENJOY WITHOUT THE NEED TO TRAVEL LONG DISTANCES.PLEASE, PLAN YOUR TRIPS TO SPEND MORE TIME IN LIMA!!!!!
Commented By: Joan Hunnicutt
On: July 24, 2012. 4:52 pm
These pictures are so great it makes me want to take a bite out of them. I am crazy for Peruvian food!!
Commented By: bhak1
On: July 24, 2012. 8:31 pm
I'm sorry, but Lima has been riding primarily off the quality of the regional cuisine for too long. There are exceptions no doubt- ceviche, pollo a la brasa, causa, lomo, chifa, etc... but generally speaking I would take comida andina, selvetica or especially arequipeña any day over the bland mush that was described to me as "comida criolla". Of course the flip side is that Lima is probably the one place where you can find all of these dishes! Regardless, my culinary experience in Perú was alarming disapointment in Lima other than the pollo and ceviche I already new. I did not figure out why Perú had it's culinary reputation until making my way out to the provinces and, once again, Arequipa!
Commented By: elbeyborrero
On: July 24, 2012. 8:51 pm
Great article Nick! It rightly portrays the culinary wonders we have the privilege of experiencing here in Perú. Thank you!
Commented By: Peruvian_gringo
On: July 25, 2012. 10:35 pm
There is no comparison to the food from Arequiopa. The best!!
Commented By: Rogelio Mamani
On: July 26, 2012. 12:43 am
Great Peruvian Cooking requires much patience and long preparation times. It will not long survive in the fast lane as Peru modernises and there are fewer empleadas and cocineras to cook these elaborate dishes. Enjoy the food now for it will not last for ever. Surprisingly Huacatay or Black Mint as mentioned in your article grows as a weed in parts of southern NSW (Australia), you can all guess what we're having for 28! Plus of course lomo saltado and pollo arverjado. Funny but the Aussie locals seem to have an aversion to Cuy whether Chactado or-not!
Commented By: jibbersweet55
On: August 9, 2012. 2:13 pm
You hit almost all the food that either I or my roomates tried in each of those locations. When in Chiclayo I tried the sting ray tortilla. It was an interesting experience. I am a huge fan of Arroz con pollo. I fell in love with Chifa, Specifically the Aeropuerto. I miss the food (I am back in Hawaii). Though I do have one bottle of Aji sauce and plan on making some Huacaina sauce :)
Commented By: utani
On: March 25, 2013. 12:02 pm
All these foots are delicious, I’m Peruvian and still I don’t finish know and eat all the food of my country. I advise you to visit to PERU because to eat in Peru is know fabulous and exotic products, with his species, animals, fruits, vegetables and fished original of the country, to taste a Peruvian plate is the only experience. Also it is the gastronomic capital of Latin-American, and though I recognize it hurts to the people of Lima the gastronomic capital of the Peru is Arequipa. I advise you eat a delicious Rocoto Relleno it is Hooot, very unique. This is a traditional entree from the Andean city of Arequipa, made with chili pepper. Besides the meat, it can be stuffed with many another ingredients. It is my favorite Peruvian food. Rocio U. H
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