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Street Food in Lima Peru

Updated on February 24, 2014

Foodie Capital of the World

The "Foodie Culture" reigns in my city. There is food everywhere - on the street corners, in the parks. There are a couple of restaurants on every block it seems. Start a conversation with a taxi driver and the first thing he'll ask you (since it's obvious you're a foreigner!) is "How do you like the food?" Everyone here seems obsessed with food. And with good reason. Peruvian food is the most varied, most delicious, freshest food in the world! OK, there may be folks from a few other countries who will want to debate that extreme statement, but no one who really knows Peruvian food will deny that it is way up there on the list of the world's best foods!

Corner Fruit Cart
Corner Fruit Cart

Food on the Run

Street Vendors Offer a Variety of Snacks

Lima has an unbelievable number of great restaurants, but some of the most delicious foods can be found no further away than the nearest park or street corner. Actually, in most neighborhoods, you don't even need to walk to the corner. There's probably something to eat right on your block! The many offerings are representative of Peru, and absolutely delicious! You'll even find luscious fresh fruit right on the street. So if you're in Peru for the first time, be sure not to miss trying the street food.

Butifarra by LaurisB
Butifarra by LaurisB

Butifarras

In Love with These Sandwiches!

To be honest, I've never been that much of a sandwich person. I always figured that bread was a "filler" for when you didn't have enough to eat! That attitude sort of changed when I moved to Peru. But maybe the rest of that story is better left for another day. A "butifarra" (boot-ee-FAR-ah) is a sliced roast pork sandwich. With salsa criolla, lettuce, mayonnaise and aji chile peppers. The bun is a hamburger shaped thing - but much more delicious - sort of like a French roll. If you're in Peru for more than 5 minutes, you'll learn about "salsa criolla." It is a pile of thinly sliced onions, sort of cured in lime juice. And as near as I can figure out, there must be a law that it is used on everything! At least it always seems to appear on the table in restaurants. And it is served on butifarras and a whole bunch of other things.

Empanada by LaurisB
Empanada by LaurisB

Empanadas

Much More than a Meatpie

Another Peruvian staple snack food. The corner bakery (panaderia) where I have morning coffee sells thousands of these every morning for breakfast - and continues to sell them throughout the day. Usually stuffed with ground beef or chicken, they can also be found with cheese or sometimes ham and cheese or other ingredients. But it seems that the standard is the beef or chicken. Also tucked inside this yummy little pastry is a boiled egg, onion, olives and sometimes raisins. There must be millions of these things sold throughout the city every morning. A great way to start the day. Oh, and another Peruvian law! You must squeeze fresh lime into them. The little Peruvian limes, of course! Que rico! How delicious!

Pastry Cart by LaurisB
Pastry Cart by LaurisB

Pastry Carts

Wherever and Whenever You Need a Bite to Eat

The first time I was in Lima, I was amazed that every morning when I looked out the window, there was a wheeled cart on the corner with a woman who sold all sorts of yummy pastries, including empanadas, on the street! She was there every single morning. And on many other corners around town, there were similar wheeled carts. Some of them seemed to stay in the same place until at least late morning, while others cruised through the streets offering their wares in neighborhoods along the way. How convenient, I thought, to have snacks so readily available! And besides that, not only were the pastries yummy, but the carts were so cute!

Sidewalk Snack Kiosk by LaurisB
Sidewalk Snack Kiosk by LaurisB

Sidewalk Snack Vendors

The Ultimate Convenience Store

Limeños are busy people and often are on the move during the day - and the evening. Massive numbers of people always seem to be moving about the city. And since they are often on the sidewalks, either walking or getting on or off buses, it's handy that most street corners seem to have a snack vendor. Little kiosks, packed full of merchandise, with just barely room for the vendor to sit inside and sell through the opening in the front, sell sandwiches, candy, crackers, chips, gum, salted nuts and all sorts of interesting snack foods. Sometimes they sell a lot of other things, too: bottled water, hats, sunglasses, and in one, I even noticed toilet paper! At some point, usually in the late evening, these kiosks disappear from the streets. I've often tried to figure out where they go at night!

Everywhere around the city - in parks, along the sidewalks - suddenly there appears a little kiosk containing a huge vat of hot bubbling oil. And behind it there is a woman picking up little pieces of dough in her hands and quickly forming it into a snake shape which is then joined at the ends to make a doughnut shaped pastry which is then dropped into the fat and quickly fried. Made with pumpkin flour, crisp on the outside and soft inside, they are served (half a dozen or so) on a paper plate with a puddle of sweet cane syrup for dipping. Scrumptious - and challenging during bee season! There are a lot of fabulous sweet desserts in Peru, but this one stays at the top of my list, partly because it is so yummy, and also because it is found outdoors where people congregate, which makes it fun food!

Dulces-Dessert Cart
Dulces-Dessert Cart

Standing in Line

We Love Our Desserts, too!

You'll probably notice that you have to stand in line to try the delicious foods at the cute food kiosks in the parks. Peruvians appreciate this food, too. This dessert cart is very popular, and there's always a line. Grabbing a quick sandwich, or other snack on the run, is normal here in Lima, so line up, start up a conversation with a neighbor - maybe practice your Spanish - and enjoy a taste of the local culture.

Peru Visits Peru, Nebraska - You Deserve Great Food!

You are Peruvians! You deserve good food! See what happens when Peru visits Peru, Nebraska!

Quinoa-Warm Drink on a Cold Night
Quinoa-Warm Drink on a Cold Night

A New Street Food Discovery

Warm Drink on a Cold Night!


Standing on a street corner in central Lima, we discover a wonderful drink, new to us, but known to the Peruvians for thousands of years! You can read more about it over here, where I write about quinoa!

All photos used in this lens are by me, LaurisB

And What is Your Favorite Street Food?

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    • PasionAndina profile image

      PasionAndina 3 years ago

      anyway can not ignore the ceviche which is a representative dish of Lima and Peru and it can be found from shopping carts to restaurants

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      I love street food!

    • josietook profile image

      josietook 3 years ago

      Yum!! That's made me hungry.

    • chris-lee-benson profile image

      chris-lee-benson 4 years ago

      Thanks for this lens, i didn't know a lot of this.

    • Shell Mayers profile image

      Shell Mayers 4 years ago

      wow, really looks tasty.

    • diegocomercio profile image

      diegocomercio 4 years ago

      Wow! Great lens. I live in Venezuela and I thought here we had great variety of street food but from your lens now I know were are behind you guys.

    • Socialpro54 LM profile image

      Socialpro54 LM 4 years ago

      Great lens

    • Route27 profile image

      Route27 4 years ago

      This is an excellent lens. I like the empanadas. When I was a kid my mother made meat pies. Don't remember if they were the same as empanadas.

    • jastreb profile image

      jastreb 4 years ago

      Very informative and interesting lens. Great job:)

    • Alan Katz profile image

      Alan Katz 4 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for this lens. My favorite street food is hot dog.

    • hovirag profile image

      hovirag 4 years ago

      pizza :)

    • profile image

      wilsonkht 4 years ago

      wow...this lens makes me hungry. I always love street food.

    • Paul Hill84 profile image

      Paul Hill84 4 years ago

      Always interesting to learn a out other food cultures...nice Lens :)

    • GardenerDon profile image

      Gardener Don 4 years ago

      I love travel & I love food - so two birds with one stone with your lens here! Nice job!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      It's time to eat! I like your lens.

    • profile image

      MissMalaprop 4 years ago

      All of these look super yummy, but especially the picarones!

    • capriht profile image

      capriht 4 years ago

      sugar cane drink

    • Ahdilarum profile image

      Ahdilarum 4 years ago

      Mir hi Bhajji

    • BinendraWije LM profile image

      BinendraWije LM 4 years ago

      Dude amazing lens quite enjoyable not to mention mouth watering. I invite you to check out my Sri lankan street food lens.

    • Jogalog profile image

      Jogalog 4 years ago

      I've never had Peruvian street food but would love to try it. I've made salsa criolla at home and really liked it.

    • fincasquindio lm profile image

      fincasquindio lm 4 years ago

      Inca kola!

    • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

      Nathalie Roy 4 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      Picarones sounds good! I am sure I'd like it. My favorite street food here is France is crepes (thin pancakes) served with either sugar or Nutella.

    • MatijaB LM profile image

      MatijaB LM 4 years ago

      I like street food - it is cheap, tasty and you can enjoy with local people.

    • profile image

      sherioz 4 years ago

      These look a lot more sophisticated and a lot cleaner than when I was in South American about 35 years ago. I love eating street food.

    • athomemomblog profile image

      Genesis Davies 4 years ago from Guatemala

      Sounds great! I had to laugh at the first picture . . . in Guatemala, "champus" means shampoos! I can only assume it refers to food in Peru. Funny how the language changes from place to place. Street food is delicious!!! I eat it all the time here, too.

    • profile image

      momsfunny 4 years ago

      I like to try street foods in every new place I visit.

    • SayGuddaycom profile image

      SayGuddaycom 4 years ago

      Wonderful.

    • IWS LM profile image

      IWS LM 4 years ago

      Taquitos in Mexico City :) They are dangerous, but so tasty!

      visit my lens :)

    • BowWowBear profile image

      BowWowBear 4 years ago

      Back home a Sabrett Dirty-Water-Dog with all the fix-ins, but especially ONION SAUCE made my day. Knishes were great too. Lima sounds like a great place to visit! Thanks for sharing a delicious lens!

    • profile image

      DrinkMoxie 4 years ago

      Sigh... I wish I could have some, it all looks so good!

    • Rosaquid profile image

      Rosaquid 4 years ago

      I would love to try the salsa criolla, and the butifarras. In our area we have tamale and burrito vendors.

    • anne mohanraj profile image

      anne mohanraj 4 years ago

      I would love to taste Peruvian food! Great lens!

    • queenofduvetcover profile image

      queenofduvetcover 4 years ago

      Great lens! Food looks delicious!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Great 'Foodie' lens.. I loved your lens as it helped me to add few more tasty names.. :D

    • profile image

      cassieann 5 years ago

      These foods do indeed sound delicious. Heading for the kitchen now....

    • Karli McClane profile image

      Psycho Free Zone 5 years ago from USA

      Sadly, I've never really been anywhere where there were street vendors - just county fairs and whatnot.

    • TwistedWiseman profile image

      TwistedWiseman 5 years ago

      Squash and sweet potato...sounds delicious!

    • Mariajomith profile image

      maria 5 years ago

      everything looks so delicious

    • SheilaMilne profile image

      SheilaMilne 5 years ago from Kent, UK

      This looks absolutely wonderful! How does anyone keep their weight under control? :)

    • Melissa Miotke profile image

      Melissa Miotke 5 years ago from Arizona

      I am now officially hungry! Great lens:)

    • maryLuu profile image

      maryLuu 5 years ago

      Yummy. Now I am hungry!

    • redstanford lm profile image

      redstanford lm 5 years ago

      I've had Peruvian food, just not in Peru. It may be a destination someday because the food was pretty good

    • essayshub profile image

      essayshub 5 years ago

      I love hotdogs but would love to try Picarones in the future!

    • profile image

      kgdunst 5 years ago

      OH MY GOD!! I love street food!! Hot dogs, kebab, galeto, BBQ sticks in South Asia are the best!

    • writerkath profile image

      writerkath 5 years ago

      What a great way to get a real "taste" of the culture! I remember hot pretzels and hot dog stands growing up, but that's about it. Then, once in New Zealand, there was a guy selling falafel from a cart - it was wonderful! :) Thanks for the overview!

    • profile image

      khatha0808 5 years ago

      Have you guys ever been to Thailand. There are a lot of food street in every street corner as well

    • IncomeFromHomeT profile image

      IncomeFromHomeT 5 years ago

      You have NO clue how hungry you just made me! I don't have Peruvian food in my neighborhood, but there is an outstanding Mexican hole-in-the-wall down the block, and I think I have to run down and get me an empanada right now!

    • profile image

      miaponzo 5 years ago

      YUMMY!!! Reminds me a lot of Mexico City! I LOVE LOVE LOVE street tacos. Blessed!

    • blessedmomto7 profile image

      blessedmomto7 5 years ago

      I lived in Philly and our favorite street food was soft pretzels.

    • Rosetta Slone profile image

      Rosetta Slone 5 years ago from Under a coconut tree

      I love any food that can be eaten with your hands or is on a stick. My faves are falafel, samosas, and green mangos with chile sauce from Thailand. Yum!

    • Corrinna-Johnson profile image

      Corrinna Johnson 5 years ago from BC, Canada

      The Picarones sound yummy and delicious!

    • robertzimmerman2 profile image

      Robert Zimmerman 5 years ago from SE Florida, USA

      Probably hot dogs but I can't eat the bun.

    • maryLuu profile image

      maryLuu 5 years ago

      i'm not a fan of street food but I would try some picarones :) thanks for

      recommendations..

    • nicks44 profile image

      nicks44 5 years ago

      I recon I would go with Butifarras too :) Did I spell that correctly? :D

    • dahlia369 profile image

      dahlia369 5 years ago

      How nice to get to know traditions and foods from another part of the world, thank you!! :)

    • sockii profile image

      Nicole Pellegrini 5 years ago from New Jersey

      I love empanadas! And I would love to visit Peru someday. Thank you for this delicious food tour!

    • profile image

      aiclogcabins 5 years ago

      They all sound very nice, I would like to try them someday

    • profile image

      aquarian_insight 5 years ago

      It all looks so good! Peru is on my list of places I'd love to visit and I think it just went up a few places on the list thanks to your lens. *blessed*

    • jlshernandez profile image

      jlshernandez 5 years ago

      The empanadas look yummy.

    • Soapmarked profile image

      Soapmarked 5 years ago from TX

      Wow, it looks great! I'm especially jealous of the Butifarras and Picarones! We don't have anything like that here.

    • profile image

      CreativeGal 5 years ago

      I'd be content to just walk by each one and absorb the fragrance. I could live on that alone!

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 5 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      Empanadas! I have never been to Peru, but I've gotten meat pies from vendors in the Dominican Republic and at my favorite Latin restaurants where I live in Florida. The Salsa Criolla sounds yummy.

    • JohnTannahill profile image

      John Tannahill 5 years ago from Somewhere in England

      And I thought they all ate marmalade sandwiches, because Paddington Bear had one under his hat when he arrived in London from darkest Peru. Obviously, I didn't really. Sounds wonderful.

    • LaurisB LM profile image
      Author

      LaurisB LM 5 years ago

      @PlethoraReader: You sound like my kind of traveler!

    • PlethoraReader profile image

      Matthew 5 years ago from Silicon Valley

      Wow, I haven't had a chance to make it to Peru yet but you make it sound like a must stop on the gastronomic tour. Personally I will try almost any food cart on the street from around the world, so I look forward to trying several of these on my next trip. Well written. Blessed

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 5 years ago from Shanghai, China

      I love something called Ma Tuan. I hardly dare eat them because they are just rice flour made into a ball with a little sugar or sesame seed filling. When you deep fry them they puff up into balls... with gorgeous sweet flavor inside, and crispy sesame crust on the outside. Hmmmm. Want one now... and I also want to go to Peru and try some of these. I bet they are out of this world.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love empanadas.

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 5 years ago

      Thanks for taking me on the tour of street food in Lima. Made me wish I could sample some.

    • LaurisB LM profile image
      Author

      LaurisB LM 5 years ago

      @Craftypicks: I think I'm going to have to go to NY just to try the food with such a name!

    • Deadicated LM profile image

      Deadicated LM 5 years ago

      Dirty water hot dogs in NYC.

    • NAIZA LM profile image

      NAIZA LM 5 years ago

      Oh, there so many I must say! Though I love the stuff you mentioned here especially empanadas. Terrific lens. ~Blessed by a Squid Angel.:)

    • Craftypicks profile image

      Lori Green 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Dirty Water hotdogs. You get it on the streets of NY. The water isn't really dirty. It's seasoned.

    • profile image

      elfinart 5 years ago

      All of the above and more!