Peru is the first country that we’ve been to on this trip that has had a cuisine. We don’t just mean a collection of national dishes. We mean a sell-cookbooks-to-tourists and look-forward-to-trying-new-things-at-mealtimes cuisine. It’s also having something of a resurgence. Lima is now often called the gastronomic capital of the Americas.
The ingredients used in Peruvian cuisine aren’t markedly different from neighbouring countries. But what they do with them involves more thought and effort. For example in Colombia you might well get beef, potato, tomato and onion. But it’d just come as beef, potato, tomato and onion. Here in Peru it’s called lomo saltado. The beef is marinaded, sliced and cooked together with the onion and tomato and the potatoes as chips, and served with rice. It’s excellent.
Peru also has some things of its own. Ceviche is from here and is delicious. Trout is a big deal. Fresh, tangy, Andean cheese is an important ingredient. Alpaca meat is as common as beef. There’s large and moderately spicy chillies to be stuffed and baked. And there are potatoes. Always potatoes.
The humble potato is quite possibly the Inca’s biggest gift to the world. There are a huge number of varieties here with skins and flesh of white, yellow and purple. They have subtly different flavours if you use them right.
It’s still extraordinarily cheap. None of the dishes featured in the pics above cost more than $18NZD and most were well less than ten.
We’re still left wanting for fresh veg a bit, but, overall, we’re big fans of Peruvian cuisine and we’re enjoying food being an exciting part of our travels again.