Located on the South Pacific Ocean side of South America, Peru is a land of contrasts, from the Inca trail, and the Machu Picchu, and Amazon rainforest to a bustling capital. If you are planning to travel to Peru, make sure you visit Lima city. Upon arriving, here are the five essential foods you need to try.
Ceviche is the national dish in Peru. Lima has the best versions of this marinated fish, and it’s the freshest, healthiest, and zestiest dish you will ever have. Though Lima is not the ancestral home of ceviche, you can find the delicious street food versions and fine dining recipes here.
Ceviche comes from the Quechua language word ‘siwichi,’ meaning fresh fish. The ceviches in Iquitos are probably the tastiest one in Peru.
It said that over 100 years ago in the war between Chile and Peru, a potato was the only thing left. The wives of the Peruvian soldiers made the best my serving a cold mash potato salad and other ingredients and named it for a cause, thus ‘causa’ was born. Today, causa is a classic Peruvian dish. The Lima Causa, or Causa Limena has potato, tomato, avocado, and tuna.
Lomo Saltado is the most popular Peruvian meat dish among the 500 national dishes of the country. It is part Chifa, part Criollo. Chifa is the cuisine in Peru, while Criollo means mixed influenced. This means the dish is a mixture of Peruvian and Chinese influences.
In the 1850s, the Chinese arrived in Peru and brought with them various cooking techniques. This dish is beef, flambee (flame-cooked) in the wok mixing red onions, tomatoes, and Amarillo chillies. The smoky flavor gives it character, but what makes it really a mouth-watering dish is the tasty sauce – the combination of Peruvian and Chinese ingredients.
Suspiro a la Limeña
The most popular dessert in Lima is the Suspiro a la Limena. It is a combination of caramelized sugar or dulce de leche and smooth meringue. The dish name means ‘sigh of a Lima lady’ named by the Peruvian poet Jose Galvez, after Amparo Ayarez, his wife made it for him. He gave this name to honour his favourite dessert.
Tiradito (any fish and seafood)
Tiradito is a dish that has thinly sliced fish or seafood at its heart. This is like ceviche but more delicate as it uses a fish cutting technique similar to sashimi. Depending on the recipe, this is accompanied by the tiger’s milk and other ingredients. Tiger’s milk is the marinate, and it is usually a citrus fruit juice of some kind, salt, chili, and other ingredients – used to cure the fish or seafood.
It said that the Tiradito dish was created by the Nikkei people, descendants from Japanese people living in Peru. The Japanese arrived in Peru in 1898 and blended their techniques and ingredients with Peruvian ones creating Nikkei cuisine.