Peru Food and Drink
The hot and spicy nature of Peruvian food, created by ajo and ají (garlic and hot pepper), has become celebrated at home and abroad. However, there are plenty of non-spicy dishes going, so you'll be able to find something if you can't handle the heat.
Helped by the country's broad range of tropical and Andean landscapes, Peruvians enjoy a wide variety of fruit and vegetables – there are over 2,000 kinds of indigenous and cultivated potatoes alone.
For a traveller, the menú del día (menu of the day) is a good way to experience local foods at low prices, but brace yourself for lots of carbs and exotic meats, including cuy (guinea pig) and even fried ants. While you're at the coastal regions, take advantage of the cheap, delicious and varied fruits available from the markets.
Ceviche: Raw fish marinated in lemon or lime juice, onions and hot chillies.
Cuy: Roasted guinea pig, served whole, with yucca and potatoes.
Causa relleña: Potato cakes stuffed with a range of fillings, including chicken, avocado or crabmeat.
Tamales: Boiled corn dumplings filled with meat and wrapped in a banana leaf.
Mazamorra morada: A dessert made with purple maize and sweet potato starch jelly cooked with lemons, dried fruits, cinnamon and cloves.
Salchipapas: A sausage-and-chips fast-food snack. particularly popular in Chiclayo.
Papas a la huancaína: Sliced potatoes served on lettuce with a slightly spicy cheese sauce, and either a piece of hard-boiled egg or olives.
Pollo a la brasa: Chargrilled chicken, served with chips and salad with sauces.
Chicharrones: Salted pork fried in its own fat., a popular roadside snack.
Pisco: The national spirit, a clear brandy distilled from grapes.
Pisco sour: Peru’s most popular cocktail, a bittersweet pisco-based drink made with lime juice, egg white and sugar.
Chicha de jora: A potent maize beer popular in the Andes.
Chicha morada: A non-alcoholic purple corn juice that dates back to Inca times and tastes like cold mulled wine.
Inca Kola: The bottled soft drink of choice; sweet, fizzy and bright yellow.
Peruvian beers: Local beers are typically light lagers include Cuzqueña from Cusco and Arequipeña from Arequipa, along with Pilsen and Cristal.
Peruvian wine: Traditionally quite sweet; you can visit the vineyards around Ica, on the southern coast, to try different types.
Things to know
Every town has a food market, which are great places to try street food or buy ingredients for your own picnics.
Service charges of 10% are added to bills. Additional tips of 5-10% are expected in better restaurants.