Peruvian Foods Every Traveller Must Try

Peruvian cuisine was the culinary standout of my trip. Being poor backpackers, we weren’t exactly splashing out on expensive meals, but it’s possible to eat tasty, traditional meals on a budget throughout Peru – you don’t even have to go to a restaurant!

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Photo credit: Porto Bay Trade via Visual hunt / CC BY

Ceviche

Of course ceviche comes first. Ceviche should always come first. My first taste of ceviche was in a little restaurant in Lima, and I’ve never looked back since. Raw fish cooked in lime juice, served with red onion, coriander and peppers. A deliciously light, fresh and flavorsome dish. A Peruvian local even told us it’s what they often eat for a hangover, and I totally agree (yes, I know, raw fish and hangover don’t sound goo together, but don’t knock it before you try it).

Best I had: Edith’s Cevicheria, Paracas

Photo credit: Ron Dollete via Visual Hunt / CC BY-ND

Photo credit: Ron Dollete via Visual Hunt / CC BY-ND

Arroz con Mariscos

Rice fried with seafood and chilli peppers. This dish is always a pleasant surprise, as different regions use different mixes of seafood, including mussels, clams, scallops, crab, squid rings, scallop coral and once I even found snails in there.

Best I had: Edith’s Cevicheria, Paracas

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Photo credit: Gary Soup via VisualHunt.com / CC BY

Lomo Saltado

This isn’t my favourite dish, but it can be found anywhere and it’s traditional, filling and cheap. Another great hangover food, it’s a stir-fry of beef strips, onions and tomatoes, served with rice AND chips (just in case the rice alone isn’t enough carbs for you).

 

Best I had: San Pedro Markets, Cusco

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Aji de Gallina

Aji de gallina is basically a creamy yellow chicken curry, based on the classic Peruvian aji amarillos (yellow chillis), cheese, milk and sometimes peanuts. It has a unique flavor and goes great with rice.

Best I had: Truck stop canteen on the road between Nazca and Arequipa.

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This Peruvian croquette is deliciously simple. A baked potato dough filled with chopped beef and onions, whole olives, hard boiled eggs and spices. This delectable little sack is then deep fried for additional deliciousness, and served with a variety of different salsa options.

Best I had: Street vendor outside the Mercado San Camilo, Arequipa

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Palta Rellena

This stuffed avocado is divine. The stuffing varies from chicken and vegetables to shrimp, mayonnaise and red onion, ceviche or tuna. Peruvian avocadoes are like normal avocadoes on steroids – gigantic, creamy, healthy and nutritious. You’ll never see an avocado more perfect. They are served in halves, with the space where the seed has been removed serving as a bowl for the stuffing. Amazing, and infinite opportunities for creative takes on this recipe.