Food of Peru is flavorful yet not hot or overbearing. As you are dining in Peru, you begin to notice regional and cultural influences in the food you are eating. Quinoa is a staple in most all meals. Quinoa is higher in protein than most grains, has a grainy texture, and a mild nutty flavor. These characteristics make it a flexible ingredient in salads or served as a nutritious alternative to white rice.
There are three distinct geographical regions for native ingredients that influence the food of Peru: the Andes, the Coast, and the Amazon. People of each area along with some Asian and African immigrants have incorporated a few of their ingredients and cooking styles to become what is considered today as Peruvian food.
Amazonian staples in foods include bananas, plantains, yucca, and fish. Soy sauce is used in Peruvian foods and was brought to Peru by the Chinese and Japanese immigrants during the 19th century. Coastal foods include fish, shrimp, and limes. Popular in the Andes is quinoa, alpaca, and guinea pig. A favorite Peruvian spice, Aji Amarillo is a medium spiced, fruity chili pepper which adds a complex flavor as well as a distinctive yellow/orange color to many dishes.
Pachamanca, a Quechua word for Mother Earth, is a cooking technique still practiced in the Andes. Popular with the Inca’s, Pachamanca is a type of barbecue. To BBQ like the Inca’s; dig a pit, build a fire, and form a layer of rocks over the fire, Then place meat on the rocks and cover with more rocks. Often, yams are cooked like this too.
As in many countries across the globe, Peruvian chefs have traveled the world and thus developed their recipes blending new tastes with traditional food of Peru. If you are adventuresome in your eating, you will find foods that will interest your pallet. If you are not so adventuresome and like to stick with things you know you will like, you'll find the food of Peru accomadating. Enjoy our photo journey of some of the Peruvian foods we ate. Sorry, but the one thing you won’t see is Cuy or Guinea Pig. We couldn’t bring ourselves to eating a former pet in the US.
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