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22 Peruvian dishes and drinks you must try before you leave the country

Peruvian cuisine is the most varied cuisine in all South America. Try Peruvian dishes with seafood, chicken, beef or vegetarian dishes with potatoes or quinoa. Do not leave Peru without trying these 22 Peruvian dishes and drinks:

Starters

Quinoa Soup

Quinoa is big is Peru. You can have it in your starters, main dishes as well as in sweet desserts. This is a Quinoa vegetable soup, I had as a starter on Taquile Island on Lake Titicaca.

Quinoa Soup

Quinoa Soup

Papa a la Huancaina

Papa a la Huacaina can often be found as a starter in lunch menus or as a side dish in local restaurants. Potatoes, eggs and olives are served in a sauce made of cheese, aji amarillo chillies, garlic, milk, lime juice and crackers.

Papa a la Huancaina

Papa a la Huancaina

Causa Rellena

Causa Rellena is a Quechan dish which looks a bit like a cake. You will get mashed potatoes in your first layer, a mixture of meat or fish (chicken, tuna for example), mayonnaise and some vegetables in the second layer and another layer of mashed potatoes on the top. Above everything, the causa is decorated with avocado.

For me personally, that was actually a dinner dish that filled me and no starter. But a starter
is what it is supposed to be.

Causa Rellena

Causa Rellena

Fried seafood

Not much to explain here. Seafood is a huge part of Peruvian cuisine and this deep fried seafood is a good lunch starter. You can often find deep fried yucca as well with those dishes.

Fried seafood

Fried seafood

Main dishes

Ceviche

Ceviche is the national dish of Peru. Seafood (fish, shrimp, octopus, scallops among others) are cooked in lime juice, onion and aji chillies. It is served with sweet potatoes and roasted corn kernels.

Ceviche

Ceviche

Rice with seafood

Peru has a long coastline and of course, seafood is an important part of Peruvian cuisine. Rice with different kinds of seafood can be found everywhere, especially in cities on the coast.

Rice with seafood

Rice with seafood

Ceviche de champinoñes

If you are vegetarian or don’t like seafood you can still get a taste of the sauce of Ceviche. Try a ceviche with fresh mushrooms, corn and sweet potatoes in the famous sauce of lime juice, onion and aji chillies.

Ceviche de champinoñes

Ceviche de champinoñes

Trout

The most popular fish, especially in places around Lake Titicaca, is trout. This one was grilled and served with fries, rice and a small salad.

Trout

Trout

Rocoto Relleno

Rocoto Relleno is a typical dish in Arequipa. A red aji rocoto chilli is stuffed with beef, garlic, olives, herbs & spices and covered with fresh cheese. An egg and milk sauce covers the rocoto and the potatoes on the side. Please note that the rocoto is a type of chilli and not a bell pepper and thus a bit hot.

Rocoto Relleno

Rocoto Relleno

Lomo Saltado

Lomo Saltado is a dish that mixes Chinese and Peruvian cuisine. It is a soy-marinated beef with tomatoes, chilies, cilantro and onions. As most dishes, Lomo Saltado is served with fries and rice.

Lomo Saltado

Lomo Saltado

Aji de Gallina

This chicken dish is another one of the hotter dishes you can find in Peru. The shredded chicken is served in a sauce made of cream, walnuts, aji amarillo chilies, garlic, bread and cheese with eggs, rice or potatoes as a side.

Aji de Gallina

Aji de Gallina (Source)

Cuy

Guinea pig is an animal, people from Europe consider rather a pet than an animal we can eat. In Peru this is different. Cuy is especially important in the Andean regions. It is stuffed with herbs and roasted over an open fire. Then served with potatoes and other vegetables.

Cuy

Cuy (Source)

Pollo a la brasa

Chicken is marinated in herbs, spices and garlic and then roasted. It is often served with a Peruvian black mint sauce (Huayatay Sauce) and fries.

Pollo a la Brasa

Pollo a la Brasa (Source)

Desserts

Churros

You probably know churros from Spain or other Latin American countries. In Peru, it’s very popular as well. You can get it with our without fillings in small stands or with street vendors.

Churro

Churro

Café con leche

Peru is one of the top producers of coffee on earth. And who can resist a good cup of coffee after lunch? I can’t.

Café con leche

Café con leche


Picarones

Another sweet pleasure are picarones: a fried donut with sweet syrup on it.

Picarones

Picarones (Source)

Drinks

Inca Tea

Are you visiting the high altitudes of Peru? Then, you are going to either try pure coca tea or Inca tea. Inca Tea is not only a tea with coca but also includes muña and other herbs to help you acclimatize to altitude.

Inca Tea

Inca Tea

Inka Kola

Inka Cola is a popular yellow soft drink in Peru. And I assure you it tastes like it looks: children bubblegum.

Inka Kola

Inka Kola

Chicha Morada

Did you know you can make a drink out of corn? Chicha Morada is exactly that. A drink made of purple corn.

Chicha Morada

Chicha Morada

Fresh Fruit Juices

As you could find out in my article about the Peruvian Food & Market Tour, Peru offers a huge variety of fruits and thus fruit juices. I personally cannot get enough of maracuja juice.

Maracuja Juice

Maracuja Juice

Peruvian Beers

The most popular beers in Peru include Cusqueña, Cristal and Pilsen Callao. The popularity varies a lot with the region you are traveling to.

Beer from Cusco

Beer from Cusco: Cusqueña

Pisco Sour

And last but not least Pisco Sour: The national drink of Peru. This popular cocktail consists of pisco, sugar, lime juice and egg white. There are also Piscos with Maracuja and sweet tastes available. Try them all!

Pisco Sour

Pisco Sour

Which of those dishes and drinks would you like to try?

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22 Peruvian dishes and drinks you must try before you leave the country

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Peruvian Food and Market Tour in Lima with Lima te llena

5 thoughts on “22 Peruvian dishes and drinks you must try before you leave the country

  1. Agness

    Oh girl, I’m getting really hungry now!! 🙂 I would definitely like to try Papa a la Huancaina and their local coffee. What about the most delicious desserts – can you recommend your favourite one? 🙂

    1. Stef Post author

      I’m not such a dessert person, I actually prefer hearty food. So I haven’t tried as much as I probably should have. I heard good stuff about tres leches, maracuja cheese cake, picarones and arroz de leche.

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  3. Marjo

    Thanks for the list. I sooo love Peruvian chicken. The kids also always finish everything when order them to go. I think what I like best about their food is that they’re different from any other cuisine in the world. Hopefully, I’ll get to try the real thing someday.
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