By: Bryan Herb – Zoomvacations
Since winning the spot of top restaurant in the world, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, Central Restaurant in Lima is helping Peru’s culinary scene achieve the recognition it deserves! Central’s menu takes guests through different Peruvian ecosystems, categorized by altitude – from below sea level in the Pacific Ocean to the high peaks of the Andes. Each dish reflects the origin of its ingredients, from Dry Valley (shrimp, loche squash, avocado) to Amazonian Water (pacu fish, watermelon and coca leaf). While Central is certainly leading the pack, in general Peruvian cuisine is renowned for its diverse flavors, influenced by a rich history of indigenous, European, African, and Asian culinary traditions. Here are 10 unique aspects of Peruvian cuisine:
• Fusion of Cultures: Peruvian cuisine is a harmonious blend of indigenous ingredients and cooking techniques with Spanish, African, Chinese, and Japanese influences. This fusion creates a unique and diverse culinary landscape.
• Ceviche: Ceviche is Peru’s national dish and consists of fresh seafood, typically fish or shrimp, marinated in lime or bitter orange juice, seasoned with onions, chili peppers, and cilantro. It’s a refreshing and zesty appetizer.
• Potatoes Galore: Peru is the birthplace of the potato, and the country boasts an incredible variety of potato species, with over 3,000 different types. These are used in a myriad of dishes, from creamy potato stews to potato-based salads.
• Quinoa: Quinoa, known as the “mother grain,” is a staple in Peruvian cuisine. It’s used in soups, salads, and as a side dish. Peru is one of the world’s largest producers of quinoa.
• Anticuchos: Anticuchos are skewered and grilled meats, often made with marinated beef heart, though other meats like chicken or beef are also used. They are usually served with potatoes and a spicy sauce.
• Aji Amarillo: This bright yellow chili pepper is a cornerstone of Peruvian cuisine. Aji amarillo is used to add both heat and a distinct fruity flavor to many dishes, such as sauces and marinades.
• Pisco: Pisco is a grape-based brandy that is the key ingredient in Peru’s national cocktail, the Pisco Sour. This iconic drink blends pisco, lime juice, syrup, and egg white to create a frothy and tangy concoction.
• Amazonian Ingredients: The Amazon Rainforest contributes to Peruvian cuisine with exotic ingredients like paiche fish, camu camu berries, and exotic fruits like aguaje. These ingredients offer a unique taste of the Amazon.
• Chifa: Chifa is Peruvian-Chinese cuisine, a product of Chinese immigrants who adapted their culinary techniques to local ingredients. Dishes like Lomo Saltado (stir-fried beef with onions and tomatoes) reflect this fusion.
• Nikkei Cuisine: Peru is home to a significant Japanese population, and Nikkei cuisine is the result of the fusion between Japanese and Peruvian culinary traditions. Dishes like tiradito with a soy-based sauce or sushi with a Peruvian twist are popular examples.
Peruvian cuisine’s uniqueness lies in its diverse ingredients, rich history, and the fusion of culinary traditions from around the world, making it a must-try for food enthusiasts. Guests on our Zoom Vacations tour to Peru get to enjoy the multitude of flavors Peru has to offer, and we will even take you to the best restaurant in the world!
Bryan Herb is co-owner
of Zoom Vacations®,
a US company that creates stylish
international private events and gay group vacations to the world’s hottest destinations. Learn more about them at www.zoomvacations.com or call 773.772.9666.