Peru is one of the most beautiful and unique tourist destinations in the world, combining the richness of years of intermingling between several diverse cultures including the Spanish, Chinese as well as traditional Peruvian customs and traditions. In addition to the awe-inspiring monuments and incredible natural scenery, Peru, and especially Lima is well known and well recognized for its gastronomy. In fact, Peru was designated the World’s Leading Culinary Destination in 2017 by the World Travel Awards for the sixth year in a row. But also, Peru is known to be a gastronomic destination. If you are wonder what are the best dishes to try in Lima? Below are some of the top dishes that you just can’t miss when you’re visiting Lima.
What are the best dishes to try in Lima?
1. Lomo Saltado
Lomo Saltado is a dish which perfectly reflects the cultural diversity of Peru. A hallmark of Lima’s gastronomy, this dish combines the richness of both the old and new world and is one of the most loved, and best known dishes in Peru. Lomo Saltado is essentially a stir fry (saltado means stir fry) composed of beef tenderloin marinated in soy sauce, vinegar and cilantro, along with red onions, tomatoes and yellow Peruvian chilies (aji amarillo). After being stir fried the dish is usually mixed with french fries and is generally served alongside rice. Lomo Saltado fuses Peruvian ingredients with Asian preparation techniques and is influenced very much so by traditional Chifa cuisine, created by Chinese immigrants to Peru. The dish can be found in both simple and upscale restaurants.
1. Papa rellena
Papa Rellena is a traditional croquette eaten in Peru along with several other Latin American countries including Chile, Columbia, Cuba and the Caribbean. This dish has a unique history, and has its roots in the 1879 War of the Pacific where soldiers needed something portable to carry with them on long journeys. The act of frying helped to preserve the contents inside. The dish didn’t quite resemble what it is today due to limited ingredients, however, upon returning home, many wives began to spruce up this ingenuous dish. Coupled with influence by French and Italian cuisine, Papa Rellena quickly became one of Latin America’s favorite dishes and a staple of Lima gastronomy.
The dish is made by stir frying a spicy ground beef mix composed of ground beef, onions, tomatoes, cumin, garlic and paprika. Hard boiled eggs and black olives are often added as well. After making this mixture pre-cooked mashed potatoes (sometimes combined with potato flour to make it sturdier) are formed around it in the shape of a potato. This oblong shape is then fried in oil. Papa Rellena is generally a main course and is usually served with salsa criolla, a traditional South American sauce made of oil and vinegar combined with a mix of sliced onions, cilantro, and possibly boiled or pickled beets, avocado, chili peppers, boiled potatoes or tomatoes.
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3. Rice with chicken/ Rice with shrimp
Rice with chicken/ Rice with shrimp are very popular dishes in Peru and throughout Latin America. They’re very similar in both cooking, technique and ingredients to the traditional Spanish Paella, in fact, some say that they’re nothing more than an imitation coupled with some Asian influences. Nonetheless, this is a great main dish that really showcases the unique cultural diversity of Peru. The dish is composed of either chicken or shrimp along with rice and a number of vegetables and spices common to Peru’s and Lima’s gastronomy.
A Peruvian classic, ceviche is a seafood dish popular throughout coastal Latin American along with the Caribbean. Its origins are debated, however, its most closely associated with Peru. Most historians say the dish was brought to Peru by the Moorish women brought along by the Spanish Conquistadors.
Other say that the origins of the dish begin with the native Moche, a coastal civilization native to modern day Peru. The Moche supposedly used a sort of vinegar fermented from the local banana passion fruit to marinate seafood. The arrival of the Spanish only meant that the switched from using this vinegar to using citrus for the acidic marinade.
This dish is prepared by marinating fresh raw fish or shrimp in a preparation of citrus juice (lemon/lime). The fish is then spiced with aji or chili peppers and may also be spiced with chopped onions, salt or cilantro. The dish is generally accompanied by items that complement the unique acidic and fresh taste including sweet potatoes, lettuce, plantains, corn or avocados. This is a wonderful dish if you’re
looking for a colder dish that’s still quite hearty.
5. Aji de Gallina (Creamy Chicken)
Are you still wondering what are the best dishes to try in Lima?, here there is our last suggestion. Aji de Gallina (Creamy Chicken) is a classic Peruvian dish composed of a shredded chicken stew in a flavorful cheesy sauce made of ground walnuts and aji amarillo peppers. Colorful and somewhat spicy, this dish is usually served over rice with black olives, boiled eggs and boiled potatoes. Filling and warm, this is a great way to experience comfort food and Lima’s culture and gastronomy simultaneously.
Peruvian cuisine manages to combine thousands of years of native tradition with new techniques and ingredients from a diverse group of various cultures. Getting a chance to experience Lima’s heritage through food will make for an enriching and absolutely unforgettable experience. If you’re planning for traveling to Ecuador after your trip to Peru, you should visit the Galapagos Cruise page; there is information about the luxury yacht Sea Star Journey, the comfortable Seaman Journey or the daily tour yacht Galapagos Hopper.