You’ve Gotta Eat This… Peru Edition
With a landscape as rich and diverse as Peru’s, it’s no wonder that the flavors and colors of foods also very greatly depending on region. The coast is home to some of the most plentiful seafood in the world, while the Peruvian Andes are known for their 3,000+ varieties of potatoes. While foods like ceviche and quinoa have slowly made their way into North American restaurants, they have been staples of Peruvian cuisine for centuries – a common theme in the country’s food scene. Here’s a look at some of Peru’s most iconic foods you’ve gotta try while visiting the culinary hotspot.
One of the most popular exports of Peruvian cuisine and a staple of the country is fish marinated in citrus juice. Lime juice, onion, salt, and hot chilies are blended together to create this marinade. The acid in the juice cooks the fish, resulting in a tangy flavor. If you’re feeling brave, try drinking the leftover marinade at the end of the meal – this is known as leche de tigre, or tiger’s milk.
Stuffed peppers with a kick. This dish, popular in the Andean city Arequipa, is made with spicy rocoto chili peppers. The peppers are stuffed with ground beef, pork, onion, garlic, melted cheese, then baked and served with a hard-boiled egg on top. It’s the stuffed pepper of our dreams and one you definitely can’t miss.
Anticuchos (Beef Heart Skewers)
No matter where you are in Peru, you’re guaranteed to find these delicious skewers. A recipe first associated with slaves who would season and cook cuts of meat that their owners refused to eat, anticuchos are now a staple in restaurants everywhere. Street vendors sell them at every corner, slathered in garlicky sauce, and perfect for a late night meal.
Another relic of times past, Tacu Tacu was a way of creating a meal made of leftovers. Rice and beans are blended into a pancake and fried with bacon, onions, and spices added in for extra flavor. This can either be served as a meal on its own, or accompanying steak, fried banana, and fried eggs. It’s a delightful comfort food that has the added bonus of being simple and nutritious.
Aji de Gallina
If you find yourself in Peru on a chilly winter night, this is the perfect dish to help you warm up! Shredded chicken strips are mixed into a savory creamy yellow sauce made of aji peppers, bread, parmesan, pecans, onions, and garlic and served with rice and potatoes. The aji peppers give it the yellow color as well as a mild spice making for the perfect winter meal.
If you’re a picky eater, you might want to skip over this one. Guinea pig is one of Peru’s most famous delicacies and a popular source of meat. Once you get past your initial skepticism, guinea pig is a tender dark meat (not unlike rabbit or wild fowl) it’s surprisingly tasty. Roasted in herbs over an open fire, it’s commonly served with corn and potatoes. For a little extra flavor, dip it in some fresh salsa. The most common way to eat it is with your hands, so dig in! When in Peru, right?