I am not a foodie, but to understand a country and its culture better, I believe that there’s no better way to learn it but to explore its kitchen and its food.
Before going into Peru, I made a little research and found an article about the top 10 food you must try while you’re in Peru by the National Geographic travel website. It includes the famous ceviche, cuy (a guinea pig, and yes I couldn’t believe it either!) and alpaca. Peru was my first South American country and I made sure that during the two-week trip, I am able to describe what an authentic Peruvian cuisine is.
My dear readers, prepare yourself for a gastronomic adventure!
Our first breakfast was in Casa Andina, Private Collection in Miraflores where we stayed for the first night. Its main restaurant, Alma serves the buffet breakfast, where you can choose between eggs or waffles. I chose eggs with a thick Huancaina sauce (derived from Huancayo, a city in the Peruvian highlands). The taste was balanced between sweetness and saltiness, with its sourness coming from the sliced tomatoes and herbs. All its flavors in bursting in my mouth awakening me up from my jetlag.
Our next meal was in Museo Larco Restaurant. It is indeed a good idea to build a restaurant next to a museum because people can get really hungry specially after spending many hours exploring the museum. They serve both a la carte and set meal which offers a couple of suggestions.
My set menu includes a very refreshing Pisco Sour, Causa Limeña which is a delicious mashed potato seasoned with lime, stuffed with chicken and vegetable in a mild yellow aiji pepper tartar sauce, main course was Sabana De Lomo A Lo Pobre Con Tacu Tacu – a breaded sirloin accompanied with rice and Peruvian beans, served with fried banana and escabeche sauce and lastly the desert, where I have chosen the Lucuma Mousse. The mashed potato is already very heavy, and I felt that the breaded sirloin was a letdown. Anyhow, I should mention as well that the restaurant is in a garden made the ambiance really nice. The experience was still pretty good!
One of the best food experiences I had in Peru was by Cafe Inkaterra, a restaurant located in Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel overlooking the Vilcanota River. It serves innovative fusion-fare that would make your trip to Peru more remarkable. I’m sure what I’m going to write here will still be an understatement and just by thinking about it, I already feel… ugh, I would come back for that food!!! (I hope my exclamation marks give it justice).
The favorite from the above lunch has to be Lomo Saltado which was invented by the Chinese immigrants in Peru, this is stir-fried beef with tomato, pepper, onion, soy sauce and potato. I probably had 2 Lomo Soltado during my visit to Peru, and the best one has to be in Inkaterra. Arghhh!!! That same evening, we had this wonderful dinner too!
“Inkaterra just wins in every way!”
When we were in Cusco, we finally get to eat in a local restaurant called Quinta Eulalia and here, we tried the famous fried guinea pig. It looks pretty scary but the Peruvians love it. It actually tastes like chicken. Thank God for Lechon though, this one was really huge and fat and I like it even though it’s difficult to use utensils while eating it.
They served both foods with lots of rice. At 1 pm, the place still looked empty, but around 2 pm, people started coming in, later on, our guide David told us that Peruvian indeed are used to have a later lunch. They often have light breakfast and a heavy lunch – no wonder they can combine lots of potato and rice in one dish.
For the finale, I went for Maido, listed no. 8 in the World’s 50 Best Restaurant. What makes it stand out is the imaginative way the Japanese-Peruvian fusion cuisine was served. I ordered the tasting menu which was reasonably priced. Each of the courses was a surprise itself that made my last meal in Peru so remarkable.
Indeed, the country has its right to pride itself on its food.
Originally published on the travel blog 17 Dec. 2015