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Anticuchos: Afro-Peruvian Heritage


As one of the most diverse culinary spots of the world, Peru has quite a few dishes that have unique histories. Peruvian Chinese food, for example, dates back to the late 19th century immigrations of families from the Canton region, which was going through some very difficult times due to an economic depression and persistent droughts. The migrant workers were ecstatic to find an abundance of ingredients in Peru; even though these ingredients were radically different than what they were used to in China, the popular Peruvian Chinese food known as “chifa” was born.

In the case of anticuchos, the fusion aspect involves the culinary traditions of indigenous people of the Andes and the arrival of African slaves. In the 16th century, Spanish conquistadors discovered that the Incas enjoyed a recipe that consisted of skewered chunks of meat that were subsequently dipped in various sauces. The name anticucho comes from the works anti and kuchu, which mean “cuts of the Andes.”

When the Spanish Crown ordered African slaves to be shipped to their American colonies, the anticuchos recipe would be forever changed. The Incas only skewered the finest cuts of meat, and the conquistadors did likewise. In the case of African slaves, they were only given access to beef hearts, which were considered inferior.

Over time, Afro Peruvian communities learned how to make beef heart a delicacy through the magic of marinating, which eventually became a hallmark of Peruvian food preparation. These days, there are various skewered meat, poultry, pork, and even seafood recipes, but any self-respecting Peruvian restaurant knows that the original beef heart anticuchos dish must be a part of the menu.

At La Costanera Restaurant, you can enjoy the original Afro Peruvian recipe of skewered beef heart in all its marinating and dipping sauce glory, but you can also choose chicken and sweet potato. This is a perfect dish to enjoy during the summer with cold Peruvian beer such as Cusqueña.

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