Those who want to experience the true taste of Peru should start with three traditional dishes that Peruvians eat regularly.
The most interesting things about these dishes are they combine ancient with techniques brought by Spanish and Asian immigrants.
Lomo Saltado is a chifa dish whose popularity pushed it mainstream. Chifa cooking refers to a type of fusion food that incorporates Chinese food with Peruvian cuisine. This dish is beef or sirloin stir fried with onions, tomatoes and even French fries. It is served with rice.
Ají de Gallina is a Peruvian spicy chicken with a cream sauce and follows Spanish traditions. A classical Peruvian food, it’s noted for its bright yellow look derived from the aji peppers used. The cream sauce offers unique Peruvian flavors because of one interesting ingredient – ground walnuts. Typical side dishes served with this meal are boiled yellow potatoes, rice and black olives.
Cuy, or guinea pig, is for those who are both adventuresome and want to experience the food of the highland Andes natives. While many in America may not sway to the idea of eating cuy, the dish is a staple dish in the mountains.
Cuy is prepared several different ways, depending on the region. Cuy is fried and served with a pepper and achiote sauce in the Huancayo, Tacna and Cajamarca regions and is baked in Arequipa. In Cuzco, cuy is baked whole and decorated with a hot pepper in its mouth. Typical side dishes are potatoes or rice. It always includes a spicy, savory sauce.
If a trip to Peru isn’t in your New Year plans, you can still try traditional Peruvian dishes without leaving the country. La Costanera Restaurant on Montara Beach offers authentic dishes like these. Chef Carlos Altamirano of this Peruvian restaurant uses both ancient techniques with modern methods to create fusion dishes that best exemplify all that South American has to offer. Come taste the flavor of Latin America!