3 Best Must-Try Meals in Peru | Peru is one of the world’s leading culinary destinations and was actually awarded this title by the Word Travel Awards for eight consecutive years in a row! If you are coming to Peru to hike the Inca Trail, you are not only going to hike one of the most coveted trails in the world, to one of the New Seven Wonders of the World – Machu Picchu. You are also going to delve into some of the best Peruvian dishes to sink you teeth into. Luckily, all your hiking will leave you ravenous and ready to eat these three mouthwatering delicacies! Don’t leave Peru without eating these dishes: 3 Best Must-Try Meals in Peru
The truth is, we really wanted to include 10 or more Peruvian dishes on this list, so don’t let us stop you from trying everything!
Ceviche is one of the most famous Peruvian dishes out there and there are so many types of ceviche dishes to try! You can sink your teeth into a classic ceviche, a ceviche mixto that has different types of shellfish, octopus or squid, ceviche de conchas negras (a type of clam), ceviche de pulpo (octopus), ceviche de camarones (shrimp), ceviche de tarwi (a type of high altitude Andean bean common to eat in the Andes) and another vegetarian favorite, ceviche de champinones (mushrooms) and ceviche Amazónico (using Amazonian river fish, local chili peppers and palm hearts).
There is nothing better than a classic spicy ceviche when you are on the coast, enjoying the hot weather and you a drinking a cerveza (chela in Peruvian slang) Cusqueña. The combination of clean, fresh caught fish, lime juice and cilantro is just so refreshing and energizing.
|Lets talk more about what other ingredients are included in the classic ceviche dish. Classic ceviche is raw fish marinated in fresh lime juice, thinly sliced red onion, cilantro, Ají Limo and salt. The dish is often garnished with sweet potato, boiled choclo corn, a toasted dry corn, fresh or fried seaweed, fried plantain or sweet potato chips and lettuce.|
2. Lomo Saltado
Smoky, hearty, juicy, tender beef sautéed with vegetables and fried potatoes – our mouths are watering just thinking about it! Lomo Saltado is another classic Peruvian dish that combines Peruvian ingredients with techniques from other cultures of the world that took place after the Spanish conquest. The dish represents the fusion of three cultures: Inca, Asian and European that is sure to satisfy even the most refined palates.
The dish is made using the Chinese technique of the wok, soy sauce and stir-frying. The dish would not even have been invented without the creativeness of the Chinese immigrants in the early 19th century.
You can literally find this dish in any restaurant that serves traditional Peruvian cuisine! To successfully prepare the dish you will need marinated strips of sirloin beef (or any other lean cut of beef) in soy sauce, a dash of vinegar, spices, onion, tomatoes, ají amarillo and fried potatoes. You will serve the stir-fry with a side of white rice to make sure none of the delicious, savory juices are wasted! Note: If you are vegetarian, you can replace the beef with strips of mushroom.
3. Chupe de camarones
Never have I ever eaten such big, hearty, thick bowls of soup in my life than I have in Peru (to be specific the Andes). Imagine the biggest bowl of soup possible, full of different potatoes and tubers, thick starchy sauce, grains, meat and other vegetables boiled together – and that is what your first course of a typical lunch will be.
|I remember the wide-eyed faces of many first time exchange students in Peru, who are invited to a local families house for lunch, looking at the gigantic bowls of soup they are handed. They try to consume as much as possible, while sweating, and hoping to not look rude when the hardly finish half. Then, looking on with shock as the main plate comes out with more meat and rice. But, not all soups have to be big bowls of burden.|
You can’t mention Peruvian food without mentioning at least one type of soup. There are also bowls of soup (even bigger bowls of soup!) that make up the main course of the meal. One of the all-time favorites is Chupe de camarones, arguably one of the most celebrated dishes in all of Peru.
Chupe de camarones is a traditional, crawfish (or shrimp), chowder from the region of Arequipa. The soup is hearty and is made with various ingredients depending on the region, but normally the chowder is made with milk, cheese, garlic, eggs, crawfish or shrimp, rocoto peppers, fish stock, corn, potatoes, peas and occasionally other vegetables.
Note: If you are vegetarian, there is also a nice chupe de quinoa alternative!
Well, that is our list of our three all time favorite dishes in Peru!
When in Peru to be hiking the Inca Trail, don’t forget to explore all the food that Peru has to offer. Hopefully you have some extra time to spend in Cusco (or Lima, or Arequipa) after the Inca Trail, to get to know the amazing Peruvian cuisine.
Branch out of your comfort zone to try new Peruvian dishes that you may never have the opportunity to try again!
Be brave, be hungry, be adventurous and “provecho!”
Safe travels in Peru!