Our Picks for Best Foods in Peru
Take your taste buds on a gourmet adventure to Peru, a nation bursting with culinary marvels that will satisfy them like never before. We list the top ten foods in Peru that you simply must taste in this guide. Food enthusiasts will be completely enthralled by Peru’s vibrant tapestry of flavors, which ranges from rich and savory ceviche to melt-in-your-mouth lomo saltado. Join us as we explore the exquisite delights that characterize Peru’s culinary scene, highlighting the varied ingredients, age-old methods, and distinctive cultural influences that give these meals their extraordinary quality. Prepare for a culinary journey unlike any other as we introduce you the the bests foods in Peru.
Table of Contents
Causa, a popular Peruvian meal, is a chilly delicacy that has captured the hearts and palates of foodies all across the country. This appetizer neatly sandwiched a mix of mayonnaise-based fillings between layers of mashed Peruvian yellow potatoes imbued with the vivid tastes of aji amarillo. While chicken and tuna salad are typically seen in Peruvian restaurants, there are other crab and prawn salad versions that are available.
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Avocado and hard-boiled eggs adorn the filling, adding a splash of color and good fats while giving this culinary masterpiece their unique personalities. The most well-known version of this meal is Causa Limeña, which is from Lima. It can be eaten as a cake roll, casserole, terrine, or even in colorful individual servings. Regardless of the appearance, the true essence is found in the balance of the oil, zesty lime, spicy aji amarillo sauce, and yellow Peruvian potatoes.
For meat lovers, the filling for Causa is made from finely chopped tuna, chicken, or salmon with mayonnaise. It is layered with savory olives, velvety avocado (called “palta” in Spanish), and slices of hard-boiled eggs. The last flourish is always a substantial layer of base mash that unites the taste symphony. Causa is typically served cold, displaying its versatility and culinary expertise as the perfect side dish or salad to compliment a dinner. This one of our favorite entrés and not to be missed foods in Peru.
Vegetarian Friendly: Causa can be prepared with a protein substitute, making it a delightful option for vegetarians seeking to savor its remarkable flavors.
Diet Friendly: With its array of nutritious ingredients, Causa can be enjoyed without concerns about high calorie content.
Heat-o-Meter: While boasting a dynamic blend of flavors, Causa’s spiciness is barely noticeable, making it accessible to those with a milder palate.
Try it in Lima @ Restaurante Francesco, Malecon de la Marina 526, Lima
Arroz con Pato
The traditional rice and chicken dish seen in many Latin American nations is elevated to new heights in the popular Peruvian dish Arroz con Pato by using tender duck as the headline component. The flavors are amplified and traditional dishes are reimagined in Peruvian cuisine, and this culinary masterpiece perfectly expresses that. Dark beer is used to marinate the duck meat in Arroz con Pato, bringing forth its inherent richness and depth of taste. Due to the copious amounts of cilantro and peas used, the rice itself has a brilliant green color.
Arroz con Pato is a especially beloved and relished by inhabitants and visitors alike in Chiclayo, a city tucked along the Pan-American Highway in Northern Peru. Even though the recipe appears to be a straightforward Spanish Criollo preparation, Peru has given it a special touch, creating a famous meal with a wide range of variations. Usually, dark beer, fragrant herbs, and cilantro paste are added to the rice to give it a rich, earthy flavor.
Arroz with Pato adorns the dinner tables of homes all around Peru, crowned with a luscious leg or thigh of roast duck (or occasionally crisp-seared duck confit in more ornate interpretations).This meal is one of those foods in Peru that is cooked mostly on special occasions.
Vegetarian Friendly: Arroz with Pato is not vegetarian-friendly since it features duck, which is not allowed on vegetarian diets.
Diet Friendly: Due to the use of duck and the richness of the cooking, this delicious dish has a tendency to have a higher calorie count.
Heat-o-meter: Arroz con Pato normally has a mild flavor profile that is appealing to a wide variety of palates and is not spicy.
Try it in Lima @ Fiesta Restaurant, Avenida Reducto 1278, Lima
The mouthwatering anticuchos de corazon, which include luscious beef hearts as the star component, is one typical Peruvian meat meal that delightfully surprises tourists. Expertly roasted on skewers over an open flame, these hearts are expertly prepared, either chopped into thin pieces or cut into tasty cubes. Anticuchos are widely adored as one of many common street foods in Peru, and they are easily placed on skewers, making them easy to consume and adding to their appeal.
Anticuchos de corazon, which are frequently served with a zingy aji amarillo dipping sauce, are a prime example of Peruvian cuisine. Beef heart meat, which is considered offal, has a leaner texture than filet mignon and a more robust, meaty flavor than ribeye. Its flavor is elevated to pure excellence when it is seared over an open flame. As a result, heart meat is so incredibly nutritious that it is nearly a superfood.
Cow hearts are skilfully sliced into two-inch pieces and marinated in a mixture of vinegar, cumin, aji (Peruvian chili pepper), and garlic to create anticuchos de corazón. These cubes are frequently served on skewers with slices of onion and potato and are grilled over charcoal to a delicious medium-rare. A drizzle of lime juice completes the dish. Choose a dry red wine to perfectly complement the beef’s savory undertones and full-bodied flavor.
Do not miss the amazing Tio Mario restaurant in Barranco if you find yourself in Lima. This elegant anticuchera specializes in anticuchos and provides a memorable eating experience. It is located close to the Bridge of Sighs in this charming Lima district. Additionally, have a look to Anticuchos de la Tia Grimanesa, a more relaxed restaurant where you may experience the delicious flavors of anticuchos.
Vegetarian Friendly: Anticuchos, a dish that emphasizes meat, are not appropriate for vegetarian diets.
Diet-friendly: Anticuchos are a good choice for individuals looking for a dish with fewer calories because they offer a lean and nutrient-rich meal.
Heat-o-meter: Anticuchos have a moderate level of spice, so they can be appreciated by people with different spice tastes.
Try it in Lima @ La Tranquera, Av. Jose Pardo 285, Miraflores, Lima
Alfajores, the delectable dulce de leche cookies, are now well-known and adored throughout Argentina and Peru. Two baked cookies sandwich a decadent filling, most frequently dulce de leche, in these delectable sweets. The texture of the cookies might vary, but the best ones have a softer, cake-like consistency that improves the overall taste.
There are many different designs and presentations for alfajores. Others are rolled in tiny coconut shavings or covered with a coating of silky chocolate, while some are dusted with powdered sugar. Regardless of the specific presentation, the blend of the soft cookies and the creamy dulce de leche results in a mouthwatering combination of tastes and textures. One of our favorite dessert foods in Peru.
Vegetarian Friendly: Alfajores are normally vegetarian-friendly because they do not contain any components that come from animals, thus the answer is yes.
Diet Friendly: Alfajores are considered to be decadent and sugary, making them unsuitable for diets. They are best consumed in moderation.
Heat-o-Meter: Alfajores are a dessert or snack food and are not spicy.
Try it in Lima @ La Casa del Alfajor, Malecón Balta 626, Miraflores, Lima
Chupe de Camarones
A universe of warming soups that also satisfy the appetite has been revealed through exploring the various South American culinary terrain. The beloved chupe de camarones, a savory shrimp chowder with a history dating back to the Inca empire in the 1500s, is one of these delectable dishes.
Chupe de camarones, one of the more popular foods in Peru, is evidence of the nation’s rich culinary history. Originally, the soup was made with shrimp and potatoes, demonstrating the variety of ingredients available in the area. The recipe underwent a substantial modification, nevertheless, with the entrance of Spanish settlers in the 1800s. The addition of eggs and milk gave the soup a silky texture and thicker consistency.
Local corn and yellow potatoes is a distinguishing characteristic of chupe de camarones. This not only enhances the aesthetic appeal but also gives the chowder a distinctive flavor that goes well with the other components. Rich broth, soft potatoes, and luscious shrimp combine to provide a flavorful dish that is fulfilling and comforting.
Vegetarian Friendly: Chupe de camarones is not vegetarian-friendly since it is mostly made with shrimp, which is not allowed on vegetarian diets.
Diet-Friendly: Chupe de camarones’ calorie count can change depending on the exact components and method of preparation. It is advisable to take meal balance and portion amounts into account.
Heat-o-Meter: Chupe de camarones can vary in heat depending on the ingredients and spices used, although it is often not excessively hot.
Try it in Lima @ Chez Eladio, Av. Arenales 228, San Isidro, Lima
Papa a la Huancaina
The delectable Peruvian meal papa a la Huancaina, which consists of potato slices covered in a thick and creamy cheese sauce, gives the classic aji de gallina a vegetarian touch. This starter or side dish demonstrates Peru’s culinary expertise by fusing South American ingredients with imports from Central America and Europe. This is one of the most loved foods in Peru that is served mostly as an entree.
A velvety puree made from a tasteful medley of queso fresco, aji amarillo, garlic, egg, evaporated milk, and a smidge of tangy lime juice gracefully envelops golden slices of potatoes. The end result is a dish that is creamy, tangy, and filling with a delicate spice. An exquisite harmony of flavors is produced by the careful balancing of zesty lime, sharp queso fresco, earthy white potatoes, and boiled egg.
Although papa a la Huancaina is frequently served as a side dish with the main course, it also excels as a mouthwatering appetizer. Try serving it with crushed crackers, olives, eggs, and a garnish of crushed crackers on top of boiling purple potatoes for a unique twist.
Vegetarian-Friendly: Papa a la Huancaina is good for vegetarians, and vegans could consume it by leaving out the eggs.
Diet-Friendly: Papa a la Huancaina has a creamy consistency, which makes its calorie content rather high. But its decadent flavor makes it a lovely delicacy that is worth savoring.
Heat-o-Meter: Although the level of heat can be changed to suit individual tastes, Papa a la Huancaina is often not extremely hot, making it suitable for a variety of palates.
Aji de Gallina
One of the most well-known foods in Peru is a comfort meal; Aji de gallina never fails to entice the taste buds with its mouth watering tastes. Shredded chicken breast is the star of this flavorful dish, which is covered in a creamy sauce made of a delicious medley of onion, garlic, aji amarillo, Parmesan cheese, white bread crumbs, and crushed pecans or walnuts.
There is more to this dish than meets the eye, even if the tender chicken steals the show. White potato slices tuck beneath the delicate chicken, creating a cozy touch. Traditional accompaniments to aji de gallina include aromatic white rice, a hard-boiled egg garnish, and a scattering of olives. Before enjoying this culinary delicacy, olives can be easily eliminated or set aside if you do not like them.
Imagine a creamy sauce flavored with cream, ground walnuts, white cheese, and aji amarillo as it envelops juicy shredded chicken. This tasty sauce strikes the ideal balance between the smoothness of the cheese and its mild flavor and aji spice. Aji de Gallina has a delicious and cozy consistency when everything is combined on a dish, with the chicken, veggies, and sauce sitting above a bed of rice, boiled potatoes, and black olives. Aji de Gallina is at the top of our go to Foods in Peru.
Vegetarian Friendly: No, Aji de Gallina is not vegetarian-friendly because the major component is typically shredded chicken.
Diet Friendly: Due to its rich components, Aji de Gallina tends to be somewhat heavy in calories, making it a more decadent option.
Heat-O-Meter: Aji de Gallina typically has a slight heat that is moderated by the sauce’s creamy components, making it not excessively spicy.
Try it in Lima @ El Rincon que no Conoces, Calle Bernardo Alcedo 363, Lince, Lima
Lomo Saltado, one of the most well-known foods in Peru, invites you to indulge in the tantalizing flavors of succulent stir-fried beef. A delectable combination of flavors is produced by this culinary masterpiece, which incorporates inspirations from both Chinese and Peruvian cuisine.
Succulent beef strips stir-fried to perfection with onions, tomatoes, and bright peppers are the main component of Lomo Saltado. The use of soy sauce, vinegar, and spices that flavor the meat and veggies give the dish a delicious combination of savory and tangy flavors. The blend of tastes and textures, along with the tender beef, fresh veggies, and flavorful spices, results in a meal that is wonderfully delicious.
Fluffy white rice is traditionally served alongside Lomo Saltado, giving the dish a cozy touch. The addition of golden French fries, which offer a delicious crunch and support the dish’s robust nature, further enhances the flavors and textures. Lomo saltado is on almost every restaurant menu and one of the most popular foods in Peru.
Vegetarian Friendly: No, Lomo Saltado is not vegetarian-friendly because beef is the major component.
Diet Friendly: Lomo Saltado has a higher calorie count because it is a meaty, rich dish. It is best eaten as an occasional treat as opposed to a regular component of a diet low in calories.
Heat-O-Meter: Despite not being traditionally regarded as spicy, lomo saltado may include mild to moderate amounts of heat depending on the individual and the presence of peppers or spices.
Try it in Lima @ Hikari, La Mar 2339, San Miguel, Lima
Pollo a la Brasa
A traditional Peruvian dish; Pollo a la Brasa encourages you to indulge in the mouth watering tastes of rotisserie chicken. Because of its tempting flavor and distinctive cooking method, this gourmet pleasure has attracted attention on a global scale.
The juicy, tender chicken that is marinated in a fragrant mixture of herbs and spices is the highlight of Pollo a la Brasa. The chicken is then slowly cooked over charcoal, allowing the smoky flavor and aroma to permeate the meat. As a result, the meat has a deliciously enticing combination of crispy skin and moist, tasty meat. This is one of the staple foods in Peru and often eaten on the weekends.
Golden french fries are frequently served alongside pollo a la brasa, and they are the ideal accompaniment to the chicken’s robust flavors. To add even more freshness and tanginess to the dish, a light green salad or traditional Peruvian sauces like aji verde or huacatay can be served alongside.
Vegetarian-Friendly: No, as the major component of Pollo a la Brasa is chicken.
Diet Friendly: Although chicken can be a lean protein source on its own, Pollo a la Brasa is a more fatty option due to the cooking process and the side of french fries that it comes with. The best way to enjoy it is in moderation as part of a healthy diet.
Spice Level: Depending on the marinade and seasonings used, Pollo a la Brasa’s spice level can change. Nevertheless, it is often not excessively spicy and is suitable for people with different spice preferences.
Try it in Lima @ Pollos Don Tito Av. 28 de Julio 1071, Miraflores Lima
The national dish of Peru, ceviche, showcases the vivid flavors of marinated raw fish and provides a light culinary experience. Cubes of raw white fish, such as sea bass, tilapia, or sole, are marinated in freshly squeezed lime juice together with salt, finely chopped aji limo (Peruvian chili peppers), and other ingredients until the acidity “cooks” the fish.
Ceviche thrills the senses with its delicate blending of flavors when served with a variety of accompaniments. Thickly sliced sweet potatoes offer a delicate balance of sweetness, while red onions lend a hint of sharpness. Cancha, which are toasted corn nuts, and Peruvian corn, with its large kernels, give extra textures to the dish. The culinary wonder of ceviche may be adorned with a sprig of cilantro or flowers in fancier restaurants.
“Leche de tigre,” or tiger’s milk, is the name for the marinade made from the combination of citrus juice, fish, and seasonings. In Peru, fans of ceviche frequently follow their meal with a tiny serving of leche de tigre, savoring its tart and energizing qualities. Leche de tigre has more recently made an appearance in smoothies and cocktails, adding a distinctive and energizing edge. This makes ceviche one of the popular hangover foods in Peru.
Ceviche from Peru can feature a range of fresh seafood, including shrimp, scallops, and octopus, despite typically being cooked with raw fish. It continues to be one of Peru’s most well-known and iconic foods in Peru, and is renowned for its capacity to enthrall and spark an instant obsession. The Peruvian type of ceviche, which uses sea bass (corvina) or any firm, lean, white fish, marinated in lime juice, onion, salt, and fiery Chiles (aji), remains loyal to its origins even though varieties of ceviche may be found in other countries like Chile and Ecuador.
To complement the spicy protein, ceviche is often accompanied by boiled corn (choclo) and sweet potatoes (camote), providing a delightful balance of flavors. Additionally, dry roasted corn kernels (cancha) add a satisfying crunch to every bite.
Vegetarian-Friendly: No, as ceviche traditionally features raw fish or seafood as the main ingredient.
Diet Friendly: Ceviche, with its focus on fresh ingredients, can be a lighter and healthier choice. However, portion sizes and accompaniments should be considered for a well-balanced meal.
Heat-O-Meter: Ceviche can vary in spiciness depending on the amount of aji limo used. However, the dish can be adjusted to suit individual preferences, making it accessible to a wide range of palates.
Try it in Lima @ Chez Wong, Try it in Lima @ Pollos Don Tito Av. 28 de Julio 1071, Lima
Conclusion: 10 Best Foods in Peru
In conclusion, the culinary journey through the diverse and vibrant foods in Peru is a feast for the senses. The flavors and fragrances of Peruvian food entice the taste buds, from the enticing ceviche to the savory lomo saltado. Whether it’s the delicate balance of ingredients in Papa a la Huancaina or the smoky char of Pollo a la Brasa, each dish showcases the culinary artistry and rich heritage of foods in Peru. So, embark on a gastronomic adventure and savor the exquisite delights that make foods in Peru truly extraordinary. Karikuy Tours offers Gastronomic Tours and Cooking classes to explore the delights of Peru’s amazing cuisine with your taste buds as you learn about its magical culinary treasures.
Founder of Karikuy, an organization in Peru that brings travelers to visit and explore the country. Julio also runs the Karikuy Volunteer program and is the editor of this blog. Julio likes to write about his adventures in Peru as well as Peruvian folklore, mysteries and secluded locations.