For an authentic glimpse into the day-to-day life of the locals, there’s no better place than the bustling markets of Peru. Abuzz with people, sights, sounds, and smells, it’s a multi-sensory experience any foodie traveler will love. On your custom Peru vacation, be sure to include one of these private guided market tours.
BELEN MARKET (IQUITOS)
A visit to this famous floating market is an experience no foodie traveler will want to miss. A chaotic sprawl of floating booths amid the thick of the jungle, this market offers a seemingly endless variety of edible offerings, among them freshly picked vegetables, fruits (both familiar and strange varieties), just-caught river fish, jungle and farm-raised meats and a whole lot more besides.
Looking for lunch? Try fresh fish wrapped in bijao (palm tree leaves) with a side helping of grilled tropical tubers. Want something more adventurous? If you’ve got the stomach for it, ask for suri (grubs roasted on a stick). Be sure to see the Calle Paquito section of the market, where stalls specialize in roots, herbs and other ingredients with medicinal and purported magical properties.
Noisy, disorderly and awash with aromas, Belén Market is a fascinating place where a dozen or more mini-dramas play out daily. Want to witness them for yourself? Kuoda can ensure you get to experience Belén during your Amazon private tour.
SAN PEDRO MARKET (CUSCO)
Cusco has got plenty of places to shop for edible booty, but the colorful arrangements of groceries and grains at the indoor San Pedro Market are sure to impress potential buyers. The odiferous meat section contains all the usual suspects, from fresh chicken to beef, as well as more conspicuous animal commodities, such as an entire goat’s head – the star ingredient in the delicacy that is goat’s head soup.
A bit of light haggling is the norm here and part and parcel of the average sales interaction so wear your bargaining hat. Be sure to bring change with you as many vendors won’t break large bills. Negotiating a deal is thirsty work; let the “juice ladies” at the market fix you a refreshing concoction using the fruits, vegetables and superfoods of your choice for just 3 to 5 soles (anywhere between $1 and $1.75). For bragging rights, ask them to throw a frog or two into the mix; these pureed amphibians are said to increase sex drive.
Located just a few blocks from Cusco’s Plaza de Armas, the San Pedro Market can be easily fit in to most Peru vacation itineraries.
BIOFERIAS (BIO-FAIRS) IN LIMA
Lima’s outdoor bioferías differ from average markets in that everything sold at them – from quinoa to kiwicha to cacao – is organic.
At the Sunday market in Surquillo, the provenance of all produce is clear. Eager buyers arrive early to get farm-raised eggs and super fresh dairy before – as they often do – they sell out. Browsing the stalls here is a sure-fire way to stir up hunger. That is when the hot food sections calls. Expect generous portions of seco de cabra (goat stew), pato asado con arroz (roast duck with rice) and leche de tigre ceviche (a tasty mix of citrus-marinated seafood and crunchy fried fish).
As is common with small-batch organic foodstuffs, prices tend to be higher than average, but the quality is top-grade and thoughtful buyers can be sure of the produce’s origins.
Another biofería in nearby Parque Reducto, which takes place every Saturday, has similar offerings, as does the biofería in Barranco. These markets are a particularly worthwhile excursion for ethical foodies undertaking personalized tours of Peru.
Taking place on Sundays, this outdoor market in the tranquil Sacred Valley village of Pisac offers a window into the lifestyle of the rural Andean people. Here, vendor after vendor sell regional produce. Whole stalls are dedicated to potatoes and root veggies, of which there is an extraordinary variety, while fresh produce, honey, nuts, grains, meats, pulses and even fresh flowers also feature.
Sit among locals at the ready-to-eat food booths, where you can get yourself a hot meal like rocoto relleno (stuffed peppers) or caldo de gallina (hen and vegetable soup), for a reasonable price (often less than $3). Give Kuoda a call today and we can start making arrangements for your visit to Pisac Market and the rest of your private Peru vacation.