Friday, 12 September 2008

Peruvian Foods, Drinks, and Recipes

Updated 23 December 2014


Peru is world-renown for its cuisine. Meals are usually served late in the day and rice accompanies lunch and dinner. Lunch is typically eaten around 2-4pm and dinner from 9pm onwards. Breakfast is usually bread with jam and white coffee. Lunch is the biggest meal and Peruvians don’t think that sandwiches or hamburgers are meals.

Many restaurants have “menus” which consist of soup or salad, a main dish with rice, and a refreshment. Most vegetables are cooked and salads are consist usually of a few of the following: avocados, tomatoes, beets, grated carrots or lettuce and may use mayonnaise as a dressing. Chinese food, or Chifa is also very popular here.

If you go to Peru, try to speak Spanish. You'll be treated differently than if you speak English all the time, it'll help you assimilate to the culture, and you'll usually get cheaper prices. If you're looking to learn Spanish, check out Fluenz Spanish, Rosetta Stone, and Synergy Spanish.

If you're looking to try real Peruvian food, you'll have plenty to choose from. Most dishes are served with a plentiful amount of white rice. And if you're at a restaurant, they usually have menus which consist of a starter, main dish, drink, and dessert. Peruvian food is one of the famous all over the world. with a bit of patience and creativity, you can try to make some dishes as well. For info on where to go shopping for the necessary ingredients, read Hitting the Markets in Lima.

In big cities you will find tons of Starbucks, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, and Papa Johns, however, the prices are pretty much the same here as at home. Here are some small, but tried and true places in Lima. If you're interested in Peruvian cuisine, try reading . . .
Desserts
If you've got a sweet tooth, look no further. Suspiro Limena is made with caramel and milk. Although it's served in a small dish, you might not even be able to finish it because it's so rich. Picarones are made with sweet potatoes and spun into a ring and then served with syrup. Chocotejas are chocolate filled candies. Alfajores are small cookies with caramel in the middle and powered sugar on the outside. Turrones are popular Christmas time sweets and are made with honey and almonds. You can find out more about these desserts and others in the post about sweets in Peru. You can easily re-create these delights at home. Here are a whole bunch of fantastic recipes for Peruvian desserts.

Dining Out
Cucharas Bravas has good info on what to eat. 

Famous Foods
Peruvians are very proud of their cuisine and even have certain foods that they claim are the best in the world. If you like fruit you're in luck, here are 22 amazing fruits you've got to try.  Lemons (which are the size of a golf ball and green) are said to be cure-alls from everything from a cold, making nails strong, and helping you lose weight. Potatoes come in many varieties and grocery stores usually carry at least ten different kinds. Peruvian grains are making headlines as super foods, so if you're here you should definitely try some. Don't forget desserts as well!

Ceviche is a famous raw seafood dish, topped off with lemons and onions, you'll often get roasted corn pieces on the side. Lomo saltado is great for meat lovers. It has strips of beef with garlic, peppers, onions, and tomatos. Aji de gallina is a creamy chicken with pepper mixture. Pachamanca is a highland cuisine which is made by putting meats and vegetables in tinfoil and then burying it and the grow and making a fire over it. All the juices from the meat and vegetables stay inside and make for a mouth watering meal. Recoto rellano is also a highland dish, famous in Arequipa. It's like stuffed peppers, but spicier.

Grocery Shops
The biggest ones are Wong, Vivanda, Plaza Vea. Eco is something like the Peruvian's version of Aldi's. When you go into shops with other bags or a backpack, you will have to check your bags. They give you a little number and you get your stuff when you leave again. You don't have to check purses.

International Food
If you're looking for a taste of home, in big cities you will find tons of Starbucks, McDonald's, Pizza Hut, and Papa Johns, however, the prices are pretty much the same as back home.

Pisco is Peruvian
For many years Peruvians and Chileans have argued over the creation of Pisco, but as any Peruvian knows, Pisco is Peruvian. So what better place to try a Pisco Sour than Peru? Made with pisco, eggs, and lime it has a real kick to it. Algarrobina is a drink made in the north. Algarrobina is made from pods of algarrobina trees and is similar to molasses. Take that and mix it with whisky or pisco, milk, egg whites, sugar, and vanilla, and you're in for a sweet treat.

For those of you who don't like mixed drinks, there are plenty of Peruvian beers, such as Cristal and Pilsen. And if you're into fruit drinks, there's no shortage here, from the exotic to everyday ones. Strawberries with milk, chirimoya, guayaba, and mixed fruit drinks are available at most restaurants. Inca Cola is the yellow soft drink that beats Coca Cola and Pepsi in Peru. It's similar to cream soda. You can read more about Peruvian drinks here.

Vegetarians
Meat is usually served with lunch and dinner and milk is often drunk in the morning. However, vegetarians will be happy as there is a large variety of beans, fresh fruits and vegetables which are widely available. If you live with a family or friends, tell them specifically what you can and cannot eat. For some Peruvians, being vegetarian simply means no pork or beef, they don’t consider chicken or fish something that you can’t eat. They don’t understand that there are different types of vegetarians, and some of them won’t drink milk or eat honey. If you explain things clearly, you should be fine. 




The Ultimate Peru List recommends:

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