When most people think of Peruvian Cuisine they think of La Mar, but in San Francisco restaurants like Limon, Fresca, and Mochicas are well known as well. Even still La Mar can be credited for putting Peruvian Cuisine on the map, but it isn’t the be all and end all of Peruvian food. There are endless tasty dishes to try when one is in Peru. This culture is definitely a leader of food in South America. Here are the top 10 dishes that Organic Hobo loved as we traveled (in no particular order):
- Ceviche (Fished cooked in lime juice): If you are in Lima Peru there really isn’t anything like a good Ceviche. This might be Peru’s signature dish, but there are many different varieties: Tiradito Apaltado (one with avocado), ceviche mixto (seafood), ceviche de conchas negras (black clams), to name a few. I’m old fashioned, I like a good old Ceviche Mixto…
- Conchas a la parrilla (scallops from the grill): These are some of the best scallops I’ve ever had. Ordered from a small little restaurant called La 73 http://www.restaurantela73.com/. Tucked away in the neighborhood of Barranco, it’s a delight. Order them and eat them!
- Icey: For desert, if you like fresh fruit and ice you can’t beat a cremolada. On a hot Lima day these are absolutely refreshing, to quench a thirst in the blazing sun. Our favorite cemolada was at Curich in Mira Flores, Lima Peru. To get the historical story on cremolada, read this http://enperublog.com/2009/02/26/curich-and-the-cremolada/
- Peruvian Sandwich: Yes everyone and there mom has eaten a sandwich, but sandwiches at La Luchas more then just sandwiches. Let me explain. These are toasted, gourmet sandwiches, with options like chorizo (sausage), chicharon (fried pig parts), or even just plane jamon con cueso (ham and cheese). There really is something to be said about the whole meal @ La Luchas. Be sure to order some French fries, and of course a granadilla, Peruvian passion fruit shake which will really make you feel like you are in Peru.
- Pulpo (grilled octopus). It’s delicious. If you don’t like seafood, don’t go to Lima because you will literally be missing out on 80% of the food. Aside from the scallops this might be my favorite seafood dish. Never have I actually had Octopus melt in my mouth.
- Cazuela: I’m a lover of soup, particularly ones with broth. So I will tell you the Peruvian Soups are yummy. It’s simple, it’s warming, and it’s delicious. If you’re stuck in a foggy day (Lima has many), or a rainy day (Cuzco has many in February), drink soup. It will make you happy, boost your immunity, and prevent you from getting sick.
- Alpaca Steak: Some people might cringe at eating a lama relative, but me, I aim to find what is most local and sustainable. This animal is lean, it has a good relationship with the ecosystem, and it tastes good. Even the locals didn’t appreciate how good this animal was until a few decades ago. Now they eat it like we eat beef. But, it’s better then beef, it’s alpaca. Don’t forget to buy some lama wool as well, it’s amazing! (Clearly this article is not for PETA). This steak was at El Albergue one of my favorite restaurants in the sacred valley.
- El Mauro (bean rice with eggs, plantains, and goodness): Okay this isn’t a typical Peruvian dish, but it is definitely one of my favorite breakfasts in the Sacred Valley area. If you are visiting Machu Picchu Organic Hobo recommends you spend a day in Ollantatambo and eat breakfast at La Esquina. <http://esquinanyc.com/> Definitely worth $6.50.
- Causa (mashed potatoes with extra special on top): This dish is very popular amongst Peruvians and tourists alike. What I loved most is the creativity done with the food. It’s not just mashed potatoes. It’s different kinds of potatoes with different kinds of toppings. If there is a soul food in Peru, its Causa.
- Pisco: You can’t leave Peru without drinking pisco. Ceviche is the national dish and Pisco Sour is the national drink. In the short hour-long lesson that Bruce and I had at Picso Bar in Lima we learned quite a bit about what it takes to find and make good pisco. Most people tend to drink Pisco Sours when they think of pisco cocktails, but really there is much more variety. Try a Capitan, Algarrobina, Chicha Sour, or Chilcano. Either way, have some pisco and/or a pisco cocktail, it will change your life, or maybe just your night.
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