A center of immigration and centers of the Spanish Viceroyalty, Lima has elaborated the art of incorporating unique dishes brought from the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadors and the receiving of many waves of immigrants: African, European, Chinese, and Japanese. This has strongly influenced Lima's cuisine with the incorporation of the immigrant's ingredients and cooking techniques. For this reason Lima is the culinary capital of Peru and South America. In recent years the Peruvian gastronomy, under leadership from Lima gastronomy, is living a real boost and worldwide recognition for their original look on food and the great diversity of ingredients used. Therefore it is not surprising that in Lima not a weekend goes by without the opening of a new Lima restaurant, serving a new kind of creole food mixed with foreign influences. Good food is not only restricted to the good restaurants in Lima, don’t be surprised leaving a small “menu restaurant” contemplating that that was one of your best meals in times.
Creole cuisine is the most widespread in this cosmopolitan city. The only major international cuisines with a large presence are Chinese (known locally as chifa) and Italian. These, however, have been heavily modified due to a shortage or lack of authentic ingredients on one hand and to the local tastes and likes of the Peruvians on the other.
Following we will give a small over view of the favorite plates of the Limeños;
Anticuchos are brochettes made from a beef heart marinated in a various Peruvian spices and grilled, often sided with boiled potatoes and corn. They are commonly sold by street vendors.
Also frequently sold by street vendors are tamales: boiled corn with meat or cheese and wrapped in a banana leaf. They are similar to humitas, which consist of corn mixed with spices, sugar, onions, filled with pork and olives and finally wrapped in the leaves of corn husks.
The old time and national Peruvian dish; Ceviche. It consists of Andean chili peppers, onions and acidic aromatic lime, a variety brought by the Spaniards. A spicy dish, it consists generally of bite-size pieces of white fish (such as corvina or white sea bass), marinated raw in lime juice mixed with chilis.
Papa rellena (stuffed potato): mashed potatoes stuffed with ground (minced) meat, eggs, olives and various spices and then deep fried.
Pollo a la Brasa (grilled chicken or roaster chicken): is one of the most consumed foods in this country. It's basically a gutted chicken marinated in a marinade that includes various peruvian ingredients, baked on a rotating spit in wood fire oven.
Another well found famous plate; lomo saltado, sliced beef stir fried with onion, tomato, soy sauce, vinegar, chili and served or mixed with French fried potatoes and accompanied with rice.
Abundant in the whole of Peru but especially in Lima are the Chifa’s. These Chinese based restaurants with Peruvian influences you can find on almost any street in Lima and are known for their cheap and large dishes. The food is oriental based but uses many Peruvian ingredients and is adjusted to the Peruvian preferences. A very popular part of Peruvian gastronomy.
Ají de gallina is a bit the Peruvian curry and consists of thin strips of chicken served with a creamy yellow and spicy sauce, made with ají amarillo. The dish is served with white rice and a hard boiled egg.
Chicharrones: a dish consisting of deep-fried and heavily salted pork. There are at least two kinds of chicharrones: fried pork or seafoods.
The abundance of products coming from this country, mixed with the exotic and local influences and cooking techniques, makes Lima indeed a culinary capital and a worthwhile place to learn something about the plates that Peruvians appreciate so much and the proud they prepare them with. For more information, check our Lima restaurant guide or look into our Lima culinary tour.