8 Peruvian Foods and Drinks You Must Try
Find out all you need to know about the best Peruvian food and drinks before your trip.
The ‘World’s Leading Culinary Destination’ is a treasure trove of gastronomical highlights with exquisite Peruvian food and drinks. Peruvian cuisine makes use of local ingredients to create incredibly fulfilling plates consisting of hot and cold dishes. Africa, Europe, and East Asia are some of its main influencers. Age-old cooking traditions from the Andes and the heart of the Amazon make the scene all the more rich and versatile, giving way to culinary feasts that you won’t forget soon. Learn about the best Inca and Peruvian dishes to have the time of your life exploring its food scene. Before you arrive, also keep in mind these Peruvian food tips:
Must-Try Peruvian Foods
Here are the top dishes of the Peruvian food scene that will help you eat like a local:
Lomo Saltodo is easily Peru’s national dish and the inspiration for many quintessential Peruvian foods. It reflects the versatile food culture in Peru, combining elements from China and Peru in harmony. The stir-fry and wok cooking techniques brought by Chinese immigrants give lomo saltodo its characterful taste. It consists of beef strips marinated in an exotic blend of soy sauce, vinegar, and spices, and cooked together with onions and tomatoes. The sides combine a Peruvian essential, potatoes, and a Chinese staple, rice. You will love it as a classic lunch dish.
Aji de Gallina
Whether it was brought to Peru by the Spanish or French chefs fleeing after the revolution is unclear, however, it is certain that Aji de Gallina is the number one Peruvian comfort food these days. This creamy chicken curry is among the most tantalizing dishes you will have in Peru. Shredded chicken gets mixed with cheese and ground walnuts and served on a bed of rice together with onions and black olives. It is a perfect balance of sweet, bitter, and acidic.
You are looking at the oldest, most authentic, and by far the most soulful Peruvian food: Pachamanca. Break the word into two words, and you have ‘earth pot’—this is pretty much how this delightful dish gets prepared. Lamb, pork, beef, or any other meat that grows in the region goes into an earthen oven called huatia, and gets baked under hot stones with sweet potatoes, corn, chili, and lima beans. The dish dates back to the Inca Empire and a staple meal in the most important ceremonies in Peru.
Compliments of the Peruvian coast, ceviche is a worldwide dish that has a traditional version in Peru. This version is unique in the way that it is the only one that marinates the raw fish in lime juice before serving. Spices are essential to the balance of flavor in ceviche, mainly coriander, chili peppers, and salt. If you don’t have any problems eating raw fish, it is a signature dish you must try, just make sure it is served fresh. You will enjoy two of Peru’s main products on the side—sweet potatoes and corn.
Juane is the star dish of the Amazon side of Peruvian food and it is what you will be eating if you are traveling to the rainforest. In fact, juane is specifically for travelers as it remains unspoiled for long periods of time. A hearty filling of rice, eggs, olives, and hen meat goes into large macaw flower leaves, wrapped, and boiled for travelers to easily consume. If you are traveling through different parts of the jungle, you will see colorful varieties of juane, such as juane with boiled bananas or tacacho.
Looking for a sweet treat you can enjoy as you explore the atmospheric towns of Peru? Picarones is the one, standing at the forefront of the Peruvian street food scene with its delightful flavor. It is a type of doughnut made from squash and sweet potato and served with chancaca syrup. You will find them in welcoming food stalls, especially in Lima. They are perfect for enjoying on the go.
Must-Try Peruvian Drinks
There is nothing like a glass of pisco as you enjoy the breezy Peruvian nights with your friends. It is Peru’s signature spirit, an aromatic brandy made from locally grown pressed grapes. Copper pot stills are essential to its production, which separates pisco from many other spirits. The best way to drink pisco is Pisco Sour, a local cocktail that will steal your heart with one sip. We also recommend drinking it neat to relish its matchless flavor. You can find bottles of pisco in most liquor shops across the country.
Originating in the legendary Andes, chicha morada has become a national drink of Peru in no time. It is a refreshing beverage made from the iconic purple corn of Peru grown in the Andes Mountains. You can enjoy a glass along with your favorite Peruvian dish or with some local sweets. Chicha morada is the best example of the abundance and cultural value harvested in the country.
Tours visiting Peru
Inca & Amazon Adventure
Ultimate Peru Explorer
Highlights of Peru