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Peruvian cuisine is experiencing a boom right now, as many food critics, famous chefs and food magazines delight in the incredible diversity of food in Peru. Tripadvisor recently named gastronomic tours of Peru as one of the new travel trends of 2014 and after spending 18 months living here in Lima Peru, it is clear to see why.
The food of Peru is diverse and once could eat for one month straight without ever having the same dish twice. This is due to the fact that Peru has 3 distinct regions and each region has its own food, culture and traditions, meaning that in Peru you will be spoilt for choice in terms of food. What are the 3 main regions of Peru and what food are they each famous for?
As the name suggests, this is the eastern side of Peru located along the Pacific Coast. With great access to the Pacific Ocean, seafood is very prevalent and in fact the national dish of Peru is a seafood dish called Ceviche, which is essentially raw fish cooked only in lime juices. Lima, the capital city, is perhaps the most famous region along the coast for getting great seafood, and Lima was recently named the gastronomic capital of the America’s, meaning that it is starting to become world renowned for the cuisine on offer. Other great places to try seafood are Paracas, about 3 hours south of Lima, and Tumbes, about 15hrs north of Lima by bus. Here in Peru they say that you should never eat Ceviche after lunchtime, and there are actually places where you can watch the fish being caught, chopped up, and served to you on the plate within minutes…Que Rico as we say here in Peru!
This region of Peru centres around the Andes region, and probably the most famous city in the Sierra is Cusco. Here, the most famous Peruvian food is called Cuy. Cuy actually translates to Guinea Pig….that´s right, one of the most famous food dishes in Peru is actually Guinea Pig! They say that a good Cuy takes time to prepare, and they actually leave the head on the Cuy, so the Guinea Pig´s eyes are still actually looking at you while you chew it down! From a personal point of view, Cuy is not one of the nicer dishes in Peru but don´t tell that to the people in La Sierra who simply love this dish!
Juane is probably the most popular Peruvian food in the Jungle, and you will often see it consumed at local restaurants in Lima as its popularity spreads. So what exactly is Juane? It is chicken and rice cooked in a banana leaf, and as a result it forms a sort of tamale, which is a corndough stuffed with chicken. Beans are also a very popular food in the jungle of Peru.
Peru is also home to the potato, and something like 3,000 different varieties can be found. One of the tastiest potato dishes is Papa a la Huancaina, which is boiled potato covered in a spicy creamy Huancaina sauce that is simply a must try for any foodie in Peru. Lomo Saltado is also a very popular food dish, and consists of juicy meat chunks mixed with potato fries, rice and peppers. For desert, why not try Picarones, fresh Peruvian donuts that are covered in this delicious honey sauce that can be bought from street vendors!
So that’s our little bit of a guide to Peruvian food. We hope it has made you hungry, and has also made you eager to come to Peru and try all of these foods for yourself. Remember, Peru Hop makes many stops to try a lot of these foods so be sure to hop on with us and get a real taste of Peru!