One intrepid concept that travelers sometimes forget to take part in while on vacation is the opportunity to try unique delicacies. Travel is not always about thrill rides and sightseeing. Sampling the famous foods from another country gives you a literal taste of a different culture. And foodies, if you plan of visiting Peru, you've got your work cut out for you.
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Peru's rare cuisines are ones to be admired and curious about. While you'll be able to find options like grilled chicken or beef, you'll have to brush up on your Spanish so you know exactly what it is you're ordering off the menu. From cuy to alpaca, here are ten delicacies in Peru that you absolutely need to try.
Yes, if you have heard the rumor that down in South America they eat guinea pigs, you heard correct. However, in a place like Peru, they refer to this delectable dish as cuy. There are guinea pig breeders and farmers throughout Peru, and locals say that they make a good living off of it.
Cuy is usually served in its entirety and is made up of dark and light meats (with the organs, of course, still intact). You can find cuy on literally any table in Peru, from white-cloth restaurants to street-side vendors.
9 Pisco Sour
Not all delicacies refer to food. The Peruvian pisco sour isn't a cocktail you'll find at your average American bar. But if you've ever tried one, now you know that this masterpiece was originally concocted in Peru.
The pisco sour is simple enough to make, with the base liquor being pisco stirred over ice with a sour mix or lime juice. But what makes this libation particularly unique is the egg white that is ladled on top.
Causa is a potato casserole that is a point of pride in Peru. The potato as a food source actually started in Peru, so civilians have been coming up with inimitable ways to prepare this vegetable for generations.
La causa itself can be made to satiate your unique taste palate. It's prepared in a number of ways, namely with mashed yellow potatoes, a meaty base such as chicken, mayo, and a vegetable medley. It's a layered casserole, so you'll get a spike of flavor with every bite.
7 Lomo Saltado
Lomo saltado is a traditional stir fry dish that is made up of steak, sauteed vegetables, and usually has some sort of potato on the side. Like most stir fries, this dish is marinated in soy sauce, which bleeds on the plate to seep into the rice and potatoes.
This one is relatively quaint and familiar, but you won't find an authentic lomo saltado anywhere outside of Peru.
The name for the juane dish comes from one of Peru's most anticipated celebrations, the feast of St. John the Baptist (San Juan). It's a classic meal that has its origins in the South American Amazon forests because wanderers could wrap it up and eat it on the go without it going bad.
It's an entree that you can find in most Peruvian restaurants. If you order it, you'll be given a robust bijao (a green plant), which is filled with meat, spices, eggs, and typically a starch such as rice.
You're probably familiar with ceviche, the chopped, raw seafood dish. This delicacy actually comes from Peru, so you definitely don't want to skip out on this one. Ceviche may be served with a variety of spices and add-on components, but the basics are essentially the same.
A traditional ceviche will be tossed in a lemon sauce with onions, peppers, and cilantro. However, instead of Peru's traditional potato side dish, your ceviche will taste best with lighter accommodations such as corn, sweet potatoes, or plantains.
Another strange yet delightful meal that Peruvians are apt to prepare is alpaca meat. The meat itself is dark, but the flavor and lightness of this staple meal make it one of the healthiest protein options.
Alpaca meat tastes best served under mild brown gravy and is an excellent starter to broaden your horizons.
Anticuchos de corazón is a fancy way of saying grilled beef hearts. These can be found literally anywhere in Peru, even in the local street carts. What's fascinating about this dish is that it became popular after the Spanish invasion of Peru. They brought over European spices and meats to mix this new dish, overtaking the popularity of llama meat.
2 Coca Tea
Coca tea is easy enough to make, but it's the origin that will make you curious to try a cup. All you need are some coca leaves and hot water. The flavor of the leaves will blend in the water to create a fresh and potent kind of tea (yes, you actually drink it with the leaves on top).
In case you were wondering, coca leaves are, in fact, the same ingredients used to make cocaine. So be careful — too much tea can actually result in a positive drug test according to some studies. Coca leaves can be chewed or brewed as a tea, and it's highly recommended for energy and to combat altitude sickness.
This colorful fruit is a local favorite down in the plains of Peru and Ecuador. Fruit carts can be found on most streets in cities such as Cusco and Lima, so make sure to take a bite into one. Be warned though, this fruit can be pretty dry on its own. It does have a sweet nectar, with a flavor on par with a sweet potato with hints of caramel. Other uses of this fruit include mixing it with ice cream or milkshakes.
Its tropical fruit that is native to Peru, so if you're looking to be adventurous with your food explorations, the lucuma is an easy one to try.