Peru’s diverse geography significantly influences the ingredients and cuisines of its regions. Home to mountains, jungle, and coast, expect everything from hearty stews and plates, to fresh seafood, and exotic jungle fruits depending on where your private Peru tour takes you. One thing is for sure; it’s all worth sampling!
AMAZON RAINFOREST “SELVA”
Selva dishes are perhaps the least well-known outside Peru – all the more reason to try them while you’re in the Amazon!
There are a few jungle staples you are sure to encounter, including tacacho con cecina, which consists of fried plantain balls and smoked pork. Unsurprisingly for the Amazon region, fresh river fish, such as paiche, gamitana, doncella, and dorado, are also common. Whether grilled, roasted, fried or even steamed in bijao leaves, fish tends to be accompanied by the same two things: rice and boiled yucca.
Another Amazonian food that crops up time and time again are juanes, a leaf-wrapped parcel of steamed rice, egg, sliced chicken and olives. Juanes are ubiquitous in the jungle, and especially so during the Fiesta of San Juan in June, when almost every household prepares their own.
After your Amazon private tour is over, you’ll probably find yourself missing these jungle delicacies. Luckily, renowned Lima chef Miguel Schiaffano, has shared his foolproof recipe.
In the mountainous regions, meals are usually hearty and home-style. With approximately 3,500 varieties growing here, potatoes are plentiful and you’d be hard-pressed to find a dinner table without either them, or tubers such as yucca and olluco. When it comes to protein, cuy (guinea pig) alpaca, lamb and beef are most common.
If your personalized trip of Peru takes you to the Andean regions, such as Cusco or the Sacred Valley, look out for street stalls selling papas rellenas; these breaded, deep-fried, meat-stuffed potato spheres make an excellent savory snack.
Pacha Perú can arrange for you to taste some of the country’s finest papas rellenas during your trip. But, if you can’t wait until your exclusive tour of Peru to try them, you can – using this recipe from Peruvian gastronome extraordinaire Gastón Acurio – attempt to cook them yourself.
In coastal Peru, great seafood is never far away. Though soups, stews and other fish-centric dishes are common, they all stand in the shadow of what is surely Peru’s most popular dish: ceviche. Though often described as a “raw fish,” the fish in ceviche is not technically raw. It is soaked in copious amounts of lime juice – the citrus acid acting in much the same manner as applying heat would, turning the flesh opaque and firm.
Fish and citrus aren’t the only component of ceviche; onions, ají peppers, jalapeños, cilantro and spices are usually added. Traditionally, the dish is served with boiled sweet potato and yucca, dried toasted corn, a bit of edible seaweed and a cold beer.
Want to try making ceviche yourself? Follow the recipe below. Ensuring you use only the freshest seafood is paramount to getting good results.