Must-Have Peruvian Dishes
It’s funny, growing up I never liked a lot of the dishes from my Peruvian heritage. Now, whenever it’s offered I can’t get enough. I grew up with a dislike of fish, so the delicious seafood driven dishes the make up like half of Peru’s cuisine offerings never touched my lips until I reached adulthood.
Last month I wrote an article on different Peruvian dishes to know for Thrillist, and happy to share my favorites from the bunch below that are now my go-tos:
As written for Thrillist (with a couple of personal notes/suggestions):
What it is: One of the most delicious beef tenderloin dishes you’ll ever have. Slices of beef tenderloin are sautéed with onions, tomatoes, hot peppers, and other spices, then topped or mixed with French fries. Yes, fries, and they soak up the God-sent juices of the dish. The plate is also served with white rice, which also tastes amazing with the soaked-up juices.
What’s the deal: A staple in Peruvian cuisine, this stir-fry dish was also one influenced by Chinese cuisine.
Pretty much my only go-to for Peruvian cuisine growing. So in case you’re not a seafood person or have a child you want to introduce food from Peru to, this is where to start.
What it is: Raw seafood at its best. Probably the most popular of Peruvian dishes, ceviche is a marinated raw fish or seafood dish that is usually garnished with herbs and served with veggies and potatoes.
What’s the deal: There are various ceviche dishes throughout Latin America. The Peruvian variety –typically made with a white fish like tilapia or sea bass — features Andean chili peppers (aji limo), onions, and pure lime juice mixed together for a refreshing and lightly spicy dish.
While I’ve been eating seafood for years, it wasn’t until a trip to Ecuador two years ago when I first started liking ceviche. The Ecuadorian version features tomato and citrus ingredients. (Pictured above, left)
What it is: Yellow potatoes mashed and seasoned with lime and hot pepper. It is then filled with chicken, tuna, or other seafood such as shrimp.
What’s the deal: Another dish where the potato is the key ingredient, causa is a potato cake that can be served as a cold starter or a light dish. Its roots are undetermined, though it could be from the pre-Hispanic or colonial era. Regardless, it seems its creation is based on the simplicity of the ingredients and using what’s available to be put into a potato for a quick fix.
I only just started getting into causa even though it’s been a staple of Peruvian family bashes growing up. Now it’s almost always my starter when given the opp. (Pictured above, right)
What it is: Peruvian fried rice, influenced by Chinese cuisine, with vegetables, eggs, and meat cooked together with soy sauce added.
What’s the deal: Peru has had many cultures influence its cuisine when various populations invaded or immigrated to the country. Among them is the Chinese, which has become a big part of Peruvian cuisine as represented by arroz chaufa. Lima has a plethora of Peruvian-style Chinese restaurants which are locally known as chifas.
Another great intro to Peruvian food for someone who wants to try some but isn’t adventurous enough yet for some of the spicy or meatier dishes.
What it is: A Peruvian street food of beef heart marinated overnight in a various Peruvian spices and made into grilled brochettes. Can also be served as a main dish, usually served with a cold boiled potato.
What’s the deal: A hearty yet quick food, anticuchos originated in the pre-Columbian era when llama was the main source of meat, but a modern dish was adapted during the colonial era in the 16th century when the Spanish came across it.
One of of the dishes I had growing up that I liked and am glad I didn’t know what it was made of at the time since I think I would’ve shrieked.
More dishes on Thrillist.