Peruvian cuisine is very varied. With at least eight different climates, the country grows a selection of fruits and vegetables all year long. This accounts for a wide variety of dishes that include fruits and vegetables. Further, rice, potatoes, meat, organs, and fish are very popular in this country. Spicy and heavy, Peruvian cuisine is not for the faint-hearted tourist. Because of the rich history of Peru, many different influences have entered the land. These influences have affected the cuisine.
Lima has a history of being a popular Spanish colonial port. With the trade and cultural influences passing through the city, the traditional dishes of Lima are a mixture of Spaniard, Amerindian, African, Asian, and Italian influences. These influences are behind the always-changing Creole dishes, or platos criollos.
The dishes of Peru come with a few staples depending on location. Rice is the general staple. Many dishes include rice. In the Sierra, however, corn and potatoes are more popular than rice, and in the Jungle, yucca is more popular. Along with these sides, the main product on the dish is usually meat. Beef, chicken, pork, and lamb are common in Peruvian cuisine. You might see alpacas in the country, but they are used for their wool, not their meat. The guinea pig, however, is an Andean delicacy. Instead of meat, you might want to try organs, if you are adventurous with your food. During your trip, you may come across anticuchos; this is a kebab of marinate, spicy beef heart. Further, cau-cau (pronounced cow-cow) is made of cow stomach. It is served in a yellow sauce with potatoes.
If you are a seafood lover, you are in luck because Peru is abundant in fish. Fresh fish is definitely available along the coast and in the jungle area with rivers. Trout are bred in many locations in the Sierra. A common fish dish in Peru is ceviche, or marinated raw fish. Variations of ceviche include shellfish, and even sea urchin. Each region has a special way of making this specialty. If you are a seafood lover and do not mind raw seafood, it is definitely worth a try.
Potato dishes are very popular in Peru. Potatoes are called papas here. You will come across the term frequently during your trip. It is the traditional Andean vegetable. Papa a la Huancaina is a consists of potato slices and chopped boiled eggs that are topped with a yellow sauce. Potatoes and yuccas are also sometimes served with a green sauce called Ocopa. Papa rellena is mashed potato that is molded into potato-like shape with meat, vegetables, and other fillings in its center. Aji de gallina is shredded chicken in a thick cheesy sauce scooped over sliced potatoes. Causa is mashed potato that is layered with a tuna salad with hot peppers.
With access to the jungle regions, all parts of Peru receive supplies of fresh vegetables and fruits from the region. The country is proud of its agricultural yield and offers a selection of tropical fruits and fresh squeezed juices.
When it comes to desserts, Peruvian varieties are very sweet. They are rich in sugar and egg yolks. The mazamorra morada, or purple custard, which is made of purple corn that id also used for the chicha morada drink is worth a try. Arroz con leche, which is rice with sweetened condensed milk, is also a great dessert. Other desserts include picarones, which are doughnuts that are made of fried yams and served with sugarcane syrup called chancaca, and suspiro Limeño, which is very sweet.