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Eight mouthwatering street foods in Peru

World-class cuisine: Peruvian street food

Peru’s culinary tradition is rich, flavourful, and vibrant, from its lively markets to indigenous modes of cooking to world-class restaurants. Peru was voted the Best Culinary Destination in 2019 (for the 8th year in a row… no biggie) by the World Travel Awards and is home to two of the top 10 restaurants in the world (Maido and Central). But the best way to discover Peru’s gastronomy? Hit the streets, mom and pop restaurants, and ramshackle beachside cevicherias.

At the centre of any Peruvian community, you can find a bustling market – locals do their daily groceries, merchants haggle for the best cuts of meat and freshest produce, and tourists try not to get swept up in the dizzying, delightful chaos.

 

Here are the top dishes to tempt your tastebuds on the streets of Peru:

Causa

There’s a good story behind this comforting dish of mashed potatoes stuffed with veggies, meat, or seafood. During the Pacific War, while the men were off on the frontlines and food rations were scarce, women would go from door-to-door collecting any extra ingredients their neighbours may have had to spare. As fate would have it, more often than not, that meant potatoes. The women would then use whatever they had to stuff the potatoes and serve the meal to the weary soldiers. Thus, causa was born. Today, it’s a staple of Peruvian cuisine, and you can find it almost anywhere.

 

Ceviche

Peru’s national dish just tastes so much better here than it does anywhere else, and it all comes down to the freshness and quality of the ingredients. Fresh-caught fish gets rubbed down with salt and bathed in fresh lemon or lime juice to marinate and quickly cure the fish. Coriander and chilies then join the party, adding the zestiness for which ceviche is known. Simplicity is key here. To try the best ceviche, seek it out anywhere along the coast.

 

 

Lomo Saltado

Had enough of alpaca meat and beef hearts? Look no further. A classic beef stir fry, lomo saltado is one of those dishes that is definitively Peruvian, as well as familiar to our Canadian taste buds. Stir-fried beef with peppers, cilantro, and onions, served over rice with a side of fries, you can find lomo saltado just about everywhere here. Look for it as a tried and true table d’hote option.

 

 

Aji de Gallina

Another classic Peruvian dish that feels comforting and familiar, aji de gallina came to Peru by way of enslaved African people in the 16th century. Shredded chicken is stewed in a creamy, mild blend of fragrant yellow curry spices and served with rice, potatoes, and hard-boiled egg. It’s warm and flavourful (but not too spicy) and will hit the spot, especially during the chillier weather (or after a day trip in the Andes). This dish is wildly popular in Cusco, so try it while you’re there!

Anticucho

Pronounced ‘Anti-kuchu’, this savoury snack or causal main dish is easy to make, easy to find, and will easily put a smile on your face. Similar to the Mediterranean shish kebab, it features marinated meats on a skewer, commonly beef heart but also a range of other tastes. It is flame-grilled on an asado (barbecue) and severed topped with a boiled potato or less commonly veggies.

 

 

Pisco sour

Okay so granted this one is less of a food, but it’s no less delicious! Much like Champagne from Champagne or Porto from Porto, Pisco is only authentic if it comes from Pisco, Peru (but don’t tell that to Chileans, who equally claim it as their own). This fortified wine is made from Muscato grapes and packs a hefty punch. Drink it in a cocktail – we recommend the always crowd-pleasing Pisco sour. Kawsaypac! (Cheers!)

 

 

Picarones

The smell of these Peruvian donuts wafts around every open-air market in the country and is bound to make you “spoil” at least one meal by starting with dessert. They came to be during the viceroyalty period, inspired by the Spanish buñuelos donut introduced by the conquistadors. The biggest difference is these golden rings are made principally of squash and sweet potatoes and served with a syrup made of chancaca (unrefined cane sugar).

 

 

Why read about it?
Taste them on tour!

Peru & Mystical Machu Picchu

This land of ethnic splendours offers distinct cultural experiences that vary depending on where you are standing. Experience colonial Conquistador plazas in major cities, local handmade bead wares, charming communities living among the rolling Andean peaks and soaring condors. No visit would be complete without discovering Machu Picchu, the mystical remnants of the great Incan Empire dating back over 700 years. Practice your conversational Quechuan, one of the oldest native languages still spoken today, and cleanse your palate with wedges of sweet Cherimoya fruit, spicy Aji and savory ceviche.

Departures:
April & October 2023

16 days

All-Inclusive

$6,995CAD

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