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15 Typical Foods to Try In Peru, from Coffee to Ceviche

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Peruvian food is underrated. Although Peru is quite famous for its incredible mountains and its historic ruins like Machu Picchu, there’s a lot more to this country than that. One of the fascinating things about Peru is its food scene, which boasts a variety of ingredients and flavors, some of which can only be found here. Read on to learn more about some of the most delicious typical foods to try in Peru.

Peruvian Beef Dishes

Lomo Saltado

Lomo saltado is one of Peru’s signature dishes, featuring beef sauteed with soy sauce, cooking wine, and various other ingredients. If you’re not a red meat eater, don’t fret! There are also varieties that include chicken, fish, and shrimp as well.

Rocoto Relleno

rocoto is a type of Peruvian pepper that is typically served stuffed with vegetables and beef, alongside rice and a small salad. It may look cute and unassuming, but his small, stuffed red pepper isn’t for the faint of heart. This Peruvian food really brings on the heat!

Anticuchos de Corazón

Anticuchos de Corazon
Photo Credit: James (Flickr)

Sold primarily in ‘brasa’ restaurants or in street stalls, anticuchos de corazón – skewered beef hearts – are definitely different than the average meat fare in other areas of the world. However, these are a popular food item for locals in Peru, and typically aren’t too expensive. If you’re looking for a meat-heavy Peruvian dish, this is one you should try.

Peruvian Seafood

Ceviche

foods to try in peru - ceviche

Ceviche is another one of Peru’s staple dishes. This is the food from Peru that most people are familiar with. Most commonly served in the coastal regions, this seafood dish features fish, octopus, shrimp, or other seafood marinated in lime juice. Although there are different varieties, be ready for a kick of lime in any ceviche variation. Ceviche tops any list of foods to try in Peru, so be sure to give it a try!

Peruvian Chicken Dishes

Aji de Gallina

Peruvian food is not necessarily known for its chicken, but this one is definitely a must-have! This chicken dish is served with a thick yellow sauce made of local bell peppers. Served with rice and potatoes, aji de gallina is a go-to dish at virtually any Peruvian restaurant. Definitely worth a try while you’re visiting Peru!

Vegetarian Peruvian Food

Papas a la Huancaina

Gastronomía del Perú - Perú Food
Photo Credit: alobos Life (Flickr)

If you spend enough time in Peru, you’ll notice that potatoes are a way of life here. Papas a la Huancaina are a popular dish, with potatoes served in a spicy, cheese-based sauce. Although they’re definitely rich, the papas a la huancaina are also quite delicious.

Canchita

One of the staples of the Peruvian diet is corn, and canchita is a common snack you can buy at street stalls or eat on the side of a main course at a restaurant. Quite similar to popcorn, canchita is basically toasted corn that hasn’t quite burst open yet. The result? A crunchy, kernel-less treat that tastes just like the buttery, salty goodness of movie theater popcorn. Win-win.

Peruvian Pork

Cuy del Horno

Peru - 2005 DSCF2365-Kevin
Photo Credit: Shane MacClure

You’ve probably heard rumblings of this one, but cuy (roasted guinea pig) is one of Peru’s most infamous delicacies, and one locals absolutely love. Most popular in the Cusco region of Peru, this dish often comes roasted with the entire body – head included – still intact. Try this unique Peruvian food if you dare.

Peruvian Desserts

Peruvian Chocolate

chocolate
Photo Credit: Judy Van der Velden

You may see “Museos de Chocolate” in crowded tourist areas, and while these particular shops are geared to tourists, their premise has a lot of truth. Peru is one of a handful of places in the world where cacao beans grow, and therefore their chocolate is incredibly delicious. For a true Peruvian twist, try it in liquid form with some chili powder mixed in.

Queso Helado

Arequipa.
Photo Credit: _e.t (Flickr)

If you directly translate this, it means “iced cheese,” which sounds kind of strange. However, if you think of these as cheesecake-flavored ice cream cubes, it becomes so much more enticing. Originally hailing from Arequipa, this sweet dish is a delicious treat for a hot afternoon or alongside a cup of joe.

Peruvian Drinks

11. Peruvian Coffee

Peru is one of the most famous areas in the world for coffee production, and it shows in its incredible selection of brews. Even if you’re not a coffee drinker, it’s worth giving it a try here. Bonus points if you can try the coffee at a farm where they grow the beans. So fresh!

12. Muña Tea

Tea
Photo Credit: Andy Melton (Flickr)

Muña is a type of herb grown in the mountainous regions of Peru, which locals steep in hot water and drink as a tea. With a taste somewhat like mint, it has a very pleasant and mild flavor, great for relaxing after a long day of hiking or warming up after being in the cold of the snow-capped mountains.

13. Inca Kola

Inca Kola
Photo Credit: Christian Haugen (Flickr)

Although this isn’t really “made” by Peruvians, Inka Cola is a popular drink that I’ve only ever seen in mass amounts while visiting there. Originally from Peru, it’s a yellow soda that tastes like pure sugar…try at your own risk.

14. Chicha Morada

As a sweet, non-alcoholic purple drink, chicha morada is a popular drink choice for local Peruvians. Made of purple corn mulled in cloves, fruits, and other spices, it has a unique and delicious flavor. Although it’s quite sweet, chicha morada is one of my favorite drinks!

15. Pisco Sour

Pisco Sour - La Mar, Lima
Photo Credit: Cathrine Lindblom Gunasekara (Flickr)

No “foods to try in Peru” list would be complete without the popular pisco sour. Made with Peruvian pisco, egg white, and lime juice, it’s a strange combination of flavors/textures that just so happens to work really well. Be careful – this one packs a strong punch! If you’re looking for a refreshing drink to try with your dinner, the pisco sour can’t be missed.

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Did we miss anything? Which one of these is your favorite? Share your thoughts and tips in the comments!

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Kay is a full-time working professional located in Washington DC who takes every spare vacation day to get outside and explore the world. When she travels, she loves visiting the most iconic and naturally beautiful destinations in the USA and abroad. You can typically find her wandering the streets of a city, running through a park, taking ridiculous self portraits, or hiking a mountain somewhere. Connect with Kay: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

2 Comments

  1. Great post – I am traveling in Peru now and i found Peruvian food is very distinct and delicious. I just had #10 today in Arequipa. I was taken back by its weird combination but you are right, ice cream and cheese taste delish here! Chicha Morada is literally what I drink in Peru everyday, and I love it just like you! I will see if I can get cuyes somewhere before I leave the country. I had that in Ecuador already

    • Awesome, Julie! I am ADDICTED to chicha morada. I think I bought it with every single meal…oops! The queso helado was definitely strange but I quite liked it 🙂 Thank you so much for stopping by and happy travels!

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