In Perú, food is honestly one of the most discussed subjects both amongst Peruvians and between Peruvians and foreigners. Cuisine being an area of immense pride for most nationals, the topic will definitely come up in conversation with locals and with taxi drivers in particular. Because the food here is, in reality totally amazing, you will have no problem making fast friends with locals by honestly commenting on how much you love it.
Peruvian cuisine reflects not only local practices and ingredients, but also a wide range of influences from around the world. In addition to the indigenous population, the truly unique cuisine of Perú has clear influences from this country’s diverse groups of immigrants. In addition to the Spanish, other European groups, most obviously, the Italians and Germans who have come to Perú over the centuries have had a huge impact on the cuisine. Equally clear is the influence from Chinese and Japanese immigrants, and to a lesser degree, the cuisine of West Africa brought to Perú during the centuries of slave trade.
The national dish of Perú, yep there is a national dish, is ceviche. Made with only the freshest of fish caught that morning, Peruvian ceviche, like the Mexican variety, is “cooked” simply with the acid from the lime, and the capsaicin of the chili used in a recipe. Peruvian ceviche differs however not only in presentation, but also by the fact that it is served right away, as opposed to marinating for a while, as is typical with the Mexican variety. Fun fact: only tourists will be seen eating ceviche at night. Locals only eat it during daylight hours.
In recent years, Peruvian cuisine has attained an international reputation of excellence, with some great chefs including Gastón Acurio, and Virgilio Martinez gaining stardom with the ranking of their restaurants amongst the very best in the world. Additionally, 2014 marks the third consecutive year that Perú has been awarded World Travel’s award for “Best Culinary Destination in South America.”
You will not be disappointed with the local fare, which in addition to traditional Peruvian dishes includes countless Chinese restaurants called chifas, and pollerias, which are restaurants that specialize in pollo a la brasa, a perfectly delicious version of rotisserie chicken. You may however, feel that there is relative lack in the variety of different ethnic restaurants in comparison to your home country.