Peruvian Cuisine Today
Some native foods were not incorporated into the European-syle cuisine that dominates big cities like Lima and Cusco. But the indigenous populations continue to cultivate and eat them. Recently these foods have been rediscovered. Chefs in trendy restaurants now showcase Andean products such as alpaca meat, grains like quinoa and kiwicha, and unusual tubers such as yuca
and maca in sophisticated new ways.
As more South Americans venture north with their cooking traditions and ingredients in hand, North Americans are getting the chance to sample these new foods and flavors. Nuevo Latino cuisine is one example of the global gastronomic exchange that happens today, a fusion of traditional Latin flavors with global food trends. The rest of the world has become interested in the cuisines of South America, and new combinations will emerge. But the time-honored culinary traditions of Latin America remain intact. If you have not explored them already, new or old, don’t miss out. You will fall in love with South American food.
Some Key Peruvians Foods:
Corn (Maiz, Choclo) has been cultivated in South America for more than 5,000 years, and is possibly South America’s biggest food contribution to the rest of the world. Corn is the key ingredient of many staple dishes such as arepas (cornbread), tamales, various pasteles (casseroles or savory tarts) and chicha, an ancient yet still popular beverage.
Potatoes rival corn as the oldest and most important South American crop. Hundreds of varieties of potatoes are still cultivated in the Andes today, so it’s no surprise there’s an infinite array of potato recipes. Potatoes are fried, mashed, freeze dried, baked and combined with sauces into many beloved dishes.
Peppers (Ajis) are the most important seasoning ingredient in peru cooking. There are both sweet and hot varieties, and they are used in many creative ways, like in the colorful marinades for ceviche.
Tropical Fruit: South American cuisine makes great use of the incredible assortment of tropical fruit available. Coconut, cherimoya, mango, guava, pineapple, papaya, lucuma, passion fruit - the list goes on and on. These fruits star in many delicious desserts, but also liven up savory dishes and salads.
Queso fresco/ Queso Blanco: This fresh cheese is another staple of peru cooking. Queso fresco is a lightly salted, unripened cow’s milk cheese that's added to sauces and crumbled in salads.
Yuca (Manioc, Cassava) The starchy edible root of the yuca plant is another very important food. It’s especially popular in the jungle, where the root is ground, dried and roasted to make yuca relleno.