Peru is famous for Machu Picchu, amazing sights, a unique culture, and food! That’s right, Peru offers some incredibly unique cuisine that every visitor simply must try! From Alpaca to tangy cocktails, Peru has it all and you are guaranteed to taste something new in Peru!
There are tons of dishes and drinks that are unique to Peru; so many that it would be nearly impossible to try everything on your trip to Peru. But, there are a few stand-out items that you must try while travelling in Peru. You might not love them all, but having a taste is all part of the fun and a great cultural experience while in Peru.
Peru is also host to La Mistura, South America’s largest and most exciting food fair. From local street eat favourites, to dishes prepared by Michelin starred chefs, this exciting two week festival should be on every foodie’s bucket list.
Here are 5 must-try food and drinks in Peru:
Ceviche is probably the most famous dish in Peru! It is made from raw fish which is cured in lime juice. Ceviche is served cold and is often an appetiser to a main meal. Since the fish is cured in lime juice, the dish is quite refreshing and light and makes for a perfect snack on a hot summer day!
Traditionally Ceviche it is made with fresh fish from the ocean, but if you go to inland cities such as Cusco or Puno expect to try Ceviche made with trout from the rivers and lakes! Both versions are tasty but different, so be sure to try Ceviche both in Lima and Cusco on your trip to Peru and see which version you like best!
Pisco is an alcohol that has created an age-old argument between the countries of Peru and Chile. Each country claims to have invented the Pisco Sour, and to this day there is no way to know who actually invented this popular cocktail.
A Pisco Sour is a cocktail made from the alcohol Pisco which is made from fermented grapes. A Pisco Sour combines Pisco, lime juice, sugar syrup, and a raw egg that creates the frothy foam on the top! It sounds like an odd combination, and maybe it is, but the truth is that Pisco Sours are very tasty and most travellers find this to be their drink of choice while visiting Peru! Many people compare the taste to that of a Margarita!
You’ll find Pisco Sours offered at bars and restaurants throughout Peru. Sometimes you will also find variations to flavours of Pisco Sours such as passionfruit and apple, so why not try them all?!
Peru has its very own soft-drink. It is a bright yellow, less-than-appetizing looking fizzy drink that can be bought in a bottle from pretty much anywhere in the country. In fact, Inca Kola is about as common as Coca Cola in Peru, if not more!
You would think that a drink with such a bright yellow colour would taste like lemon, or maybe even banana, but it doesn’t. Inca Kola is very sweet and tastes like bubble-gum!
Lomo Saltado is the name of a traditional Peruvian dish that is a type of stir fry. It is typically made with strips of steak or beef alongside onions, tomatoes, and french fries served on a bed of rice. Sometimes the steak is substituted for chicken or even alpaca (which is commonly eaten in Peru!)
Lomo Saltado can be found in most restaurants in Peru and it is one of those dishes you need to try at least once while in Peru!
Guinea Pig –Cuy
Cuy is the Peruvian name for Guinea Pig. Yes, Guinea Pig! In Peru, eating Guinea Pig is a delicacy! The Guinea Pig is cooked and then normally served whole on a plate with a side such as potatoes.
For an authentic local experience you can find Guinea Pig available at the road side BBQ stalls, especially in the Sacred Valley between Pisac and Urubamba. Or for something a bit more touristy, at higher end restaurants geared towards tourists. Many visitors in Peru try Guinea Pig for the novelty, but beware that it isn’t the cheapest of dishes! For Peruvians, Guinea Pig is expensive and normally only eaten on special occasions or for celebrations.
Believe it or not, Guinea Pig originates in the Andean regions of South America and was always seen as food. It wasn’t until the Spanish arrived that these guys became our little furry friends. So, in Peru, eating Guinea Pig isn’t unusual at all!
Cuy is prepared either baked or fried. “Cuy del horno” means baked Guinea Pig as opposed to “cuy el chactado” which is fried.
If you are up for the adventure, give Cuy a try while in Peru! Not only is it a new cultural experience, but Guinea Pig is actually a very healthy and lean meat!
A few other things to try…
Truch Frita – Fried Trout
Aji de Gallina – A chicken dish in a creamy curry-type sauce made with garlic
Chicha – a drink made from corn
Coca Tea – tea made from coca leaves. It is a natural remedy for altitude sickness!
Anticuchos – grilled meat served on a skewer
Interested in trying some of these food and drinks in Peru? Consider booking our Peru Culinary Wonders tour!