Peruvian cuisine is one of the richest and most awarded cuisines in the world. Check out a list of can’t-miss dishes and where to try them in Lima
All it takes is a visit to a municipal market in Peru to understand why the country’s cuisine is among the best in the world. The stands offer colorful fruits and vegetables, a wide variety of potatoes and other tubers, corn of all sizes. The richness of Peruvian gastronomy lies in its ingredients, but also in the influence of several cultures: from pre-Columbian peoples to immigrants who live there now. Next, a list of the Peruvian dishes you need to try and where to find them in Lima.
1. Ceviche at Mercado San Isidro
Bathed by the Pacific Ocean and with over 1,860 miles [3,000 km] of beaches, Peru is famous for its ceviche. There are several versions, but the basic recipe is freshly caught raw fish, marinated in lime juice, served with pepper, potato, red onion, corn, cilantro, and other spices. The milky juice that results from this marinade is known as leche de tigre – some people like to drink it from a glass. This recipe is so important to Peruvian cuisine that it even has a special day: on June 28, they celebrate Ceviche Day in Peru.
Where to try it: Ceviche is the star on the menu at almost all the restaurants in Lima. To try some made before your eyes with very fresh ingredients, head to Mercado de San Isidro. The price is also worth it.
Mercado San Isidro: Avenida Augusto Pérez Araníbar
2. Anticucho at the bars in the neighborhood of Barranco
Try this delicacy that’s featured on almost all the Peruvian menus, from fancier restaurants to improvised grills on the corners of the capital and other cities. Anticucho is beef heart cut in thin, tender slices that are grilled and taste like noble meat cuts.
Where to try it: It’s easy to find this snack. At the bar La Peña del Carajo, which is quite touristy, the skewers are placed on a big grill and served piping hot to diners’ tables. Meanwhile, at the bar Ayahuasca, considered one of the best in Lima, anticucho gets a nice presentation and is served with sauce options. It’s a full meal.
Bar La Peña del Carajo: Jirón Catalino Miranda, 158
Ayahuasca Restobar: Avenida San Martín, 130
3. Camote chips at the bar Estadio Fútbol Club
Camote everywhere. With around 3,000 species of tubers, Peru selected this as one of its favorites. It’s no coincidence: its orange color stands out, but its sweet flavor wins over our hearts forever. Camote can be served in many ways – cooked with ceviche, deep-fried in chips version as a snack, strips like french fries, purée...
Where to try it: Stop by the bar Estadio Fútbol Club, in downtown Lima. While watching an exciting soccer game, order a balde de fritura, which comes with camote chips, chicken wings, chicken fingers, onion rings, and other treats.
Bar Estadio Fútbol Club: Jirón de la Unión, 1047 / 1049
4. Suspiro Limeño or Suspiro a la Limeña at La Mar Cebichería
This dessert dates from the early 20th century and is also on almost all the menus in Lima. It has the consistency of dulce de leche, served with a kind of meringue on top. It’s made with evaporated whole milk, condensed milk, Port wine, cinnamon, sugar, and lots of egg yolks.
Where to try it: La Mar Cebichería is a popular restaurant among tourists and locals alike. After a ceviche or seafood dish, make sure to try this dessert.
La Mar Cebichería Peruana: Avenida La Mar, 770
5. Chaufa rice at the chifas in the neighborhood of Chino
Peru has one of the largest Chinese communities in the world: over 1.3 million Chinese people live in the country. As such, you’ll find chifas everywhere – restaurants that combine the two cuisines. The most popular order at these establishments is the chaufa rice, served in generous portions. Fried, the cereal is mixed with other ingredients like vegetables, chicken, pork, beef, and duck, or seafood.
Where to try it: Some of the best chifas in town are located in the neighborhood of Chino, in Lima’s historic city center. After going shopping in the popular commercial area, recharge your energy with the chaufa rice at Chifa Wa Lok.
Chifa Wa Lok: Jirón Paruro, 878
6. Causa rellena at the restaurant El Verídico de Fidel
Causa is a very old recipe, from the pre-Columbian era. It’s served as an appetizer at many establishments in Lima and across the country and it calls attention for its colors. A yellow potato purée that’s pressed and filled with tuna, shrimp, or shredded chicken.
Where to try it: For more traditional recipes of Peruvian cuisine, head to one of the El Verídico de Fidel locations. There are many options of causa rellena as an appetizer – then, try a ceviche dish. To go with it, a jar of cold chicha morada – a sweet, non-alcoholic beverage made with purple corn.
El Verídico de Fidel: Calle Colón, 246
7. Tres Leches cake at the Museo Larco café
The moistest cake you’ll ever have. Tres Leches is made with evaporated milk, condensed milk, and table cream, in addition to vanilla extract. The frosting, cold whipped cream. Too sweet? It’s perfect.
Where to try it: After exploring the rich collection of pre-Columbian art that makes the Museo Larco one of the most complete museums in the world, enjoy the afternoon in its garden. Among the cacti and several flowers, you’ll find Café del Museo, which offers meals, but whose specialty are desserts. And the Tres Leches cake is the most popular order.