Flavors of Peru

Anticucho Peru skewers

Anticucho Peru skewers

Food, glorious food — It’s one of the many things that I enjoy about traveling!  Visiting a new country or region often means discovering a new food, spice, or other dish.  Sometimes those discoveries are not something I’d want to try again, but fortunately, more often it’s a tasty delight that I long for once I’ve returned home.

If you’ve discovered food that you love while on your Peru holidays, take some time to look around your neighborhood – you may be surprised to find a Peruvian restaurant or store located nearby.  While you may not be able to re-create the Machu Picchu experience at home, you can rekindle your love affair with the cuisine of this South American country.  Fair warning – If you fell in love with the food while visiting Peru, this post may have you drooling to go back!

What is Peruvian cuisine?  Like the culture roots of the country, Peruvian cuisine is rooted in Spanish flavors and influenced by flavors from the immigrants of China, Italy, West Africa, and Japan.  At the root of most Peruvian dishes are one or more of three staple foods — corn, potatoes, and beans – that are readily available throughout the country.  But don’t make the mistake of thinking that this means bland dishes.  To these staples are added a wonderful array of native fruits, vegetables (delicious chili peppers), spices, and other ingredients to make dishes as rich in flavor as in their history.

Some traditional Peruvian dishes include:  anticuchos (a skewer of marinated and grilled meat that you’ll often find available in street carts, in photo above), ceviche (raw fish marinated in lime juice and then spiced up with chili peppers), pachamanca (meats and vegetables roasted in a hot stone “oven”).  Now if that doesn’t make you hungry to go back to Peru, I don’t know what will!

While you were in Peru you were able to wash down that delicious food with a Chicha Morada (a clove flavored drink that I think is sort of like iced tea), Inca Kola (a sweet lemon soda), and Kola Inglesa (cherry flavored soda).  These are a bit harder to find back at home, so you may have to content yourself with memories of these Peruvian flavors.

Visiting your local Peruvian restaurant or store is not a substitute for visiting the country.  But after your experiences in Lima and Cusco are only memories, your photos of the Inca Trail and Tambopata National Park are saved on your computer as your wall paper, and your longing for a return visit – savoring the tastes of the country are the next best thing to being there.

NOTE:  This post was sponsored by Travelsphere.

Photo credit: wikipedia

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Mary Jo Manzanares is a traveler, travel blogger, and podcaster. In addition to her blog, Traveling with MJ, she hosts the Where Else to Go podcast, and is the founder and the editor-in-chief of The Traveler’s Way, an online travel magazine. Her travel ethos is value luxury - luxury for real people - and her goal is to help travelers know when to splurge and when to save. Mary Jo has been a speaker at various industry events around the world. When she’s not traveling, Mary Jo likes lingering over a cup of coffee, wandering in a museum, sipping wine at a cafe, and sharing it all with friends and readers. Her most recent travels were to Stockholm, a Baltic cruise, and Universal Orlando Resort.

5 Responses to “Flavors of Peru”

  1. January 28, 2011 at 7:59 am #

    I loved Peruvian cuisine when I visited on a mission trip 2 years ago. The kids even made us a little “stuffed potato” as a gift to remember the 2000 varieties native to Peru.
    http://kayhicks.wordpress.com

    • January 28, 2011 at 4:40 pm #

      @Kay Hicks,

      The flavors are truly delicious! I don’t have a restaurant close to where I live, but there are some located in the cities that I’m frequently in. It’s always a top ethnic choice!

  2. January 28, 2011 at 8:50 am #

    And don’t forget about the cuy – roasted guinea pig. We also tried alpaca. Have to try it at least once.

  3. January 29, 2011 at 3:01 pm #

    All I can say right now is, that looks delicious!!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Five Fun Facts For Friday – January 28, 2011 | MJ Speaks - January 28, 2011

    […] There are 200 species of potatoes, and thousands of subspecies, that are native to the Andes region of Peru.  And, and additional 150 types of sweet potatoes.  No wonder potatoes figure prominently in Peruvian cuisine. […]

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