This decade has seen Peruvian cuisine rise in popularity on a global scale and it’s now seen as a prominent player in the culinary world, with dedicated restaurants appearing in many cities. The dishes have a reputation as fresh, hearty and healthy fare, underpinned by corn, potatoes and chillies. Over the last five centuries, immigration has seen Peruvian food evolve and intensify in terms of flavour, such as the Chinese/Peruvian fusion known as Chifa.
Chifa is the combination of Peruvian and Chinese ingredients including ginger and soy sauce to create bittersweet flavours. Chifa evolved over the last two centuries as Chinese immigrants settled along Peru’s coast, culminating in the 1920s with numerous Chifa restaurants opening in the streets of Lima. Examples of dishes include Arroz Chaufa and Tallarin Saltado.
The new Sushi, ceviche is a seafood dish marinated in citrus juices, commonly accompanied by side dishes of sweet potato, lettuce and avocado. The fish isn’t cooked but cured in lime or bitter orange juice and spiced with chilli. This style of cooking necessitates completely fresh fish to ensure the flavour is captured in the curing process. Ceviche is so revered in Peru, it is considered part of its national heritage, with its own national holiday – Dia Del Ceviche, in June.
Found grazing the Andes of Southern Peru, these herds of woolly animals are normally bred for their soft fleece, but their meat has now become a more widespread bi-product. Alpaca is a sweet lean meat with a low cholesterol content, especially delicious in curries due to its ability to absorb the flavours that accompany it.
A pepper based dish with a kick! Rocoto is a bell shaped pepper which is a lot spicier when raw than a jalapeño. Once the seeds are removed the vegetable is stuffed with a creamy minced meat mixture and sometimes a hard-boiled egg, then smothered in cheese and baked. Delicious but not such a good choice for the cholesterol-conscious…
This smooth and deceptively potent brandy is made from distilling grape wine, and a drink which both Peru and Chile passionately lay claim to. Peruvians enjoy drinking it straight, but those trying it for the first-time should be aware it packs an alcoholic punch of around 40%. As the name suggests the spirit is also the basis of the popular Pisco Sour cocktail, in which lime juice, egg white and bitters are added and blended together.
This is one you may not want to tell your children about as Cuy is better known to us as guinea pig! It can be quite alarming to those trying it for the first time as it is usually served whole with a spicy savoury sauce. The meat is similar in taste to rabbit and so popular with the Peruvians they hold an annual festival to celebrate this revered animal.
For more information on holidays to Peru, including 'A Culinary Journey To Peru', contact our specialist at 01242 787800.