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The Taste of Peru: Sweet, Savory, and Simply Delicious!

Updated on August 12, 2010

Finally, how about some food?

Now for the mouth watering, stomach growling information you've been waiting to dig your teeth into! This hub is dedicated to the great tastes we call Peruvian Cuisine! As for the food, don’t worry much about exotic, unusual foods that cause your western stomachs to ache with growling pains that keep you indoors all day while your friends are out site-seeing. Peru has some great tastes and if you have a good palate, you’re going to enjoy every bite. Below is a list of fifteen of the ‘must have’ delights, both savory and sweet in Peru.

1. Cuy (Guinea Pig):

That is, if you can handle eating a something considered a pet in U.S.  This Peruvian delicacy is high in protein, low in cholesterol and fat, and has a savory taste similar to rabbit.  It is most common to have the dish served on a platter, head and all, making the animal even more appetizing to locals.  For tourists, on the other hand, it’s better we can’t see the poor creature’s eyes peering into the depths of our souls as we devour the animal like savages.

Tea made from Coca Leaves.
Tea made from Coca Leaves.
Mazamorra Morada, or Purple Pudding.  Served with rice with milk.
Mazamorra Morada, or Purple Pudding. Served with rice with milk.
Large kernels, heated with oil or butter in a skillet, popped, and salted.
Large kernels, heated with oil or butter in a skillet, popped, and salted.

2. Mate de Coca:

A tea made with coca leaves and said to help with altitude sickness, digestion, and relieve muscle pain and tension. In Cusco and the Sacred Valley Mate de Coca is served free in hotels and many tourist shops and sites.

3. Mazamorra Morada:

This is a very common and popular dessert in Peru and locals and tourists alike can find it just about anywhere. Mazamorra Morrada translates in English to purple pudding. It is made by boiling Peru’s famous purple corn in water, adding sugar, cinnamon, quince, and corn starch and boiling until it thickens into a pudding texture. (Some recipes include dried fruits such as plums). Often Mazamorra Morrada is served with a rice with milk mix.

4. Cancha:

A very popular snack made with large corn kernels, dried and toasted in a skillet with oil.  Much like popcorn, the kernels crack open, similar to the half popped kernels at the bottom of your microwave popcorn bag.  Cancha is typically salted and can be served with cheese.

5. Pollo a la Brasa:

In the U.S., we call this the rotisserie chicken.  There are some good and not so good versions of this in Peru.  However, the good version far outweighs the best rotisserie found in the U.S.  This is often served with french fries and costs as little as seven soles for a single plate.

6. Emoliente:

A delicious, cured version of herbs and spices served hot and great for digestion and common colds such as the flu or a sinus infection.  Many street venders sell this popular drink for just 50 centimos, or cinquente (half a sole).

7. Papa Rellena:

Similar to a double stuffed potatoe with a variety of meat, vegetables, and spices and fried in a saucepan.  

Picarones: commonly served with honey syrup.
Picarones: commonly served with honey syrup.

8. Picarones:

A fried pastry made from egg and flour and similar to a doughnut, only much lighter and tastier, believe it or not. Street venders sell piccarones hot and coated with a honey-like syrup for as little as 2 soles for 5-6 piccarones.

Pisco Sour: Peru's national drink
Pisco Sour: Peru's national drink

9. Pisco Sour:

The Pisco Sour is the Peruvian national drink.  The traditional cocktail is made from grape brandy, lemon juice, sugar, and egg whites and served in a martini glass.

Anticuchos de Corazon
Anticuchos de Corazon

10. Anticuchos de Corazon (Heart, of a cow):

Anticuchos is simply grilled skewered meat, often marinated in vinegar and spices.  The most popular meat is from the Corazon, or heart, of the cow.  The meat is thin, tender, juicy, and certainly worth trying.

11. Pansita (Stomach, of a cow):

I was told originally this is a traditional Mexican stew made with the stomach of a cow.  Other sources say it is sometimes made with a sheep’s stomach.  In Peru, however, it is not served as a stew.  Rather, it is fried or sautéed and served alone.  Though I did not try the dish myself, I was told I was missing out on some great food.  The texture seems to be rubbery, much like octopus.  

12. Lomo Saltado:

A hearty dish of sauteed meat and vegetables served with white rice and sometimes french fries. The meat choices are most commonly chicken or steak.

Peruvian style beer: fermented corn.
Peruvian style beer: fermented corn.

13. Chicha de Jora:

A traditional sweet alcoholic beverage made from dried, fermented corn, (maize), barley, and sugar.

14. Ceviche:

Small bits of raw fish marinated in lime-juice.  The citric acid partially cooks the fish and changes the texture, but the fish still maintains its raw flavor.


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    • capalynn profile image

      capalynn 6 years ago from Roseville, CA

      Yes, the food is amazing and certainly a great reason to visit. That being said, Machu Picchu is one of the most remarkable wonders of the world and worth visiting at least once. Put it in your bucket list and make it happen. Check out my hubs on MP by following the link below.

    • MarieAlice profile image

      MarieAlice 7 years ago from Peru


    • profile image

      mioluna 7 years ago

      OOOOOOOOOh Capalynn! It looks so delicious! I thought that Machu Picchu is the main reason to visit this country but after your hub with all these dishes I know that I was wrong!