GASTRONOMY OF PERU
Consider approximately three centuries of Spanish culinary contributions, influenced in its beginnings by the fusion of the Muslim presence in the Iberian Peninsula. The Spanish gastronomic customs were also influenced by the slaves from the Atlantic coast of Africa and the traditions of the French chefs that fled their country during the French Revolution.
In the same way the influence of the Cantonese-Chinese, Japanese and Italians that immigrated to Peru in the 19th and 20th centuries were very important. The Cantonese-Chinese culture that developed in Peru revolutionized the Peruvian gastronomy and has won international recognition, which gave Peru self confidence and gave people the opportunity to taste Peru. This cuisine is known in the country as chifa. It generates an exclusive flavor, as it unites foods and flavors from four continents in one country. Our gastronomy holds various Guinness World Records for its variety, quantity and quality.
THE PERUVIAN CUISINE CAN BE BROKEN INTO REGIONS:
On the Coast: As Peru is rich in marine species, as the marine flora and fauna is vast, each coastal region has adapted their cuisine according to what is in their waters. For example, we have the well known cebiche in its different forms, of just fish or mixto (mixture of fish and shellfish), parihuela (mixed seafood soup), arroz mixto (rice with shellfish), picante de mariscos (spicy mixed seafood), pescado a lo macho (fish in a tomato sauce), etc.
We also have well known criolla dishes such as: la causa limeña (potato pie), el ají de gallina (chicken in a spicy sauce), escabeche de pollo (chicken with an onion garlic sauce), lomo saltado (beef sauteed with potatoes, tomatoes and onions), carapulcra (chicken and pork in a peanut sauce), el arroz con pollo (chicken and rice), and also the traditional anticuchos (grilled beef heart). As for deserts, the coast is recognized for picarones (a doghnut-like desset in honey), mazamorra morada (a gelatin-like corn desert), arroz con leche (rice in milk), suspiro limeño (pudding), turrón de doña pepa (pastery), etc.
In the north of Peru there are also special dishes: the famous arroz con pato (rice with duck), cabrito a la norteña con fréjol (goat with beans), seco de Chabelo (beef with bannanas), shambar (soup with meat and menestras, a lentil sidedish), and a diverse selection of fish and shellfish.
In the Sierra: In this region of the country, the diet is based on corn and a variety of tubers such as the potato. They also eat llama meat, guinea pig and other animals from the region; the consumption of beef has been introduced and is also now exported to Japan. Although it is eaten across the country, one of the typical foods of the sierra is the pachamanca. To prepare it, a hole is dug in the ground that functions as an oven in which corn, potatoes, beans and various types of meat marinated in aromatic herbs are placed and covered with rocks to cook. There are other typical sierra dishes such as la patasca (beef soup) and caldo de cabeza de cordero (sheep head soup). The sierra also produces a variety of freshwater fish such as the trout. In the city of Arequipa there is an abundance of spectacularly large shrimp with which the traditional chupe de camarones (shrimp soup with egg and vegetables) is prepared.
In the Jungle: The cuisine in the jungle consists of locally available products.
Special dishes are el paiche (a fish that can weigh up to 300kg), turtle meat, etc. Typical plates include el juane (chicken leg in bannana leaves), tacacho (dried beef with plantaines), inchicapi (chicken and peanut soup), carne de cecina (dried beef), patarashca (fish with vegetables), etc. There is an immense diversity of fruits, including suaco, camu camu, mango, pineapple, and many others.
We should stress that in Peru new dishes are always being created and evolving. Examples of internationally known inventive dishes are pollo a la brasa (spit-roasted chicken with french fries) and the introduction of la Comida Novo Andina (New Andean Cuisine, a mixture of traditional Andean dishes and western cooking styles).