There are many destinations that are noted for their distinctive culinary options. However, one place that should be at the top of any gastronomy list is Peru. This South American country has a surprising take on cuisine, relying on unique ingredients, longstanding traditions and diverse culinary techniques.
This diversity starts with the produce itself. Peruvian food relies heavily on local crops and animals. The landscape varies drastically from the soaring peaks of the Andes to the sweeping vistas along the Pacific coastline. This means that there is an impressive range of plants and animals that flourish throughout the country. In particular, tubers are especially important. All types of potatoes are grown throughout the country including sweet potatoes and yucca. Accordingly, tubers are essential to most dishes. Just consider inspired options like papas a la huancaina, causa or even a side of fried yucca.
While tubers are the most prevalent, there are other distinctive Peruvian ingredients. Legumes are also very important, and the aji pepper is especially memorable in dishes like aji de gallina. The aji pepper is also used in papas a la huancaina to give it a little extra kick. Peruvian food uses common meats like beef, pork and chicken, but most menus also serve cuy. Cuy is also known as guinea pig, and they have been a common meal for local residents for centuries.
It is not merely the ingredients that make Peruvian cuisine so memorable. There is also a variety of special cooking methods that distinguish these dishes from others around the world. A lot of Peruvian cuisine relies on slow cooking techniques. The popular pollo asado is a special roasted chicken, which features flavorful and moist meat. The most famous example of Peruvian slow cooking, however, is ceviche. When preparing ceviche, the raw meat is treated with citrus juices and allowed to marinate before being served.
Peruvian cuisine is also noted for its fusion capabilities. Peru has attracted immigrants for centuries, and the influence of new peoples is evident in the food. Asian influences are especially notable in dishes like lomo saltado. This dish is essentially a stir fry, combining Asian cooking methods with classic Peruvian fare. The result is nothing short of delectable.
It is obvious that this South American paradise is an ideal culinary destination. However, you do not need to travel all the way to the Andes to experience the best of Peru. Located just outside of San Francisco, La Costanera Restaurant is the premier Peruvian restaurant in California. Discover Peruvian ingredients and techniques by making a reservation today.