We here at Supera Tours are lovers of travel, but it’s a well-known fact that we’re also obsessed with food! The two go hand in hand, right? We live to eat and our love of food is one of the things we strive to share with our customers on every single one of our tours. We hunt out the best food in every place we visit and take delight in introducing our customers to new aromas and flavors.
Aji de gallina
Aji amarillo (yellow chile) is ubiquitous in Peruvian cuisine, and this dish features it prominently. Shredded chicken is doused with a luscious aji chile and ground walnut cream sauce, served over rice and topped with hardboiled egg and olives.
The simplicity of an alfajor cookie is a thing of beauty-and having a perfect bite of one is something to look forward to during your time in Peru. This simple cookie is made by sandwiching creamy caramel between two barely-sweet butter cookies dusted with a bit of powdered sugar. They come in many sizes, from bite-sized to 3″ in diameter. But one thing is for sure: no matter how big the cookie, you’ll have a hard time not eating several in one sitting.
Anticuchos are the famous Peruvian street food found in the country’s capital, Lima. You’ll find stands and restaurants all across the city featuring these skewered grilled meats, seasoned with vinegar and spices. The most traditional are made of beef heart or liver, but you can also find octopus and chicken for the less-adventurous among us.
Once you’ve had Peruvian-style ceviche, it’s hard to go back to anything else. Prevalent in the seaside capital of Lima, it’s made by “cooking” fresh seafood with lime and then mixing it with additional traditional Peruvian ingredients: camote (sweet potato), cancha (toasted corn), aji amarillo (yellow pepper), and yuyo (seaweed). It’s a wonderful mix of flavors and textures and is regarded as the national dish of Peru—it even has its own holiday!
This dish is a delight to lovers of creamy, starchy foods. This casserole-like dish is made with layers of yellow mashed potatoes filled with chicken or shrimp salad and topped with olives, avocados, and hard-boiled egg. Most are usually presented as an impressive tower of potato and salad layers and served cold.
Chaufa, also called “arroz chaufa” is essentially Chinese fried rice, but with a Peruvian twist. In the late 1800, thousands of Chinese were brought to Peru as contract laborers to work in the mines. Chaufa is one of the many fusion dishes that came about from the blending of the two cultures. In addition to the typical fried rice additions, you can find versions with quinoa, an ancient South American seed.
Cuy is arguably the most adventurous dish on this list, but it’s a very commonplace thing to order in Peru. Cuy or guinea pig is one of the main protein staples of the country’s Andean region. It’s a must-have dish for special occasions like weddings and baptisms, but can also be ordered in many restaurants, especially in the mountainous regions. It’s usually prepared whole, stuffed with herbs and a garlic dipping sauce, and eaten with the hands.
A classic chifa (chinese-influenced) dish, lomo saltado is a classic stir-fry dish. Strips of beef are stir-fried with soy sauce and peppers but served, in addition to rice, with peruvian potato fries.
There’s plenty of debate as to what year the Pisco sour was created, but it’s universally agreed that it was invented by bartender Victor Vaughen Morris, an American living in Lima. It blends picso (a type of Peruvian brandy) with egg whites, key lime juice, and a few dashes of angostura bitters. It’s a sour, sweet, and aromatic thirst quencher–and our guests who join us on our Mystic Peru tour, have the opportunity to try their hand at making one.
Pollo a la Brasa
You can smell a pollo a la brasa restaurant from blocks away…and it’s hard to quell the hunger pangs once you do. This is simply chicken grilled to perfection, and it’s a must-have at any party, family gathering, or a great option for a quick lunch.
Papa a la huanciana
This is the ultimate Peruvian comfort food. Papa a la huanciana consists of potatoes bathed in a rich, spicy cheese sauce, topped with hardboiled egg and olives. Originating from the mountain region of Huancayo, it’s served cold as an appetizer or side dish throughout Peru.
Photo credit: Papa a la huanciana by AgainErick / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)
The beautifully-hued chicha morada is the national drink of Peru, so it’s an essential for every Peru traveler to try it at least once. Made with purple corn (maiz morado), it’s sweet and tastes like a spiced punch thanks to the addition of pineapple, apple, lime, cinnamon, and other spices. It pairs well with much of the cuisine of Peru, so it’s easily found at most restaurants and food stalls.
Much like cuy, alpaca is another common food found in the Andes region. These iconic animals are not only raised for their wool for textile purposes, but demand for their meat is also high. It’s considered one of the healthiest red meats available and you can find it offered in many restaurants in the Cusco and Puno regions.
Mate de Coca
Feeling sleepy? Having trouble acclimating to some of Peru’s higher altitudes? Then mate de coca is your friend. Mate de coca is a tea made by infusing hot water with coca leaves (yes, those coca leaves). The coca alkaloid it contains is a mild stimulant and will also help you acclimate to higher altitudes. Peruvians also use the leaf for medicinal purpose. However, don’t try to bring any whole coca leaves home as a souvenir–they are illegal in the United States unless they are decocainized or in teabag form, which are readily available in many tourist shops.