Peruvian Food – The Best Food to Try in Peru

Peruvian Food – The Best Food to Try in Peru

Peru is quickly growing as a popular cultural destination worldwide, but also as a culinary hotspot. Peruvian food and Peru’s restaurants have gained international recognition, with various of its restaurants being listed in the World’s Best Restaurants rating.

In fact, in November 2022, Peru has been named “World’s Leading Culinary Destination”, which is a clear indication of the quality of our food. That’s why in this article, we present traditional Peruvian food that you can enjoy in the best restaurants in Lima, the best restaurants in Cusco or anywhere else in the country.

What qualifies us to make these recommendations? We have been living in Peru for over 7 years already and we have been traveling through the whole country. This way, we have tried many different dishes in various regions.

So let’s dive into the culinary adventure of one of the best kitchens in the world. Get ready to find out more about the delicious Peruvian food regarding appetizers, main courses and desserts.

Peruvian Food: Appetizers

1. Causa

Causa de langostinos peruvian food

Causa is one of the most popular appetizers in Peru and it is like a potato cake, which consist of different fillings.

There are different variations of Causa, such as Causa filled with chicken, tuna, prawns, lobster and many more.

In addition to that, Causa consists of tomatoes, avocado and eggs. You can enjoy Causa everywhere in Peru – it does not matter in which city you are, it is always an amazing appetizer!

Cities where you should try Causa: Lima, Cusco, Arequipa


2. Papa a la Huancaína

Papa a la huancaina

This famous Peruvian dish consists of sliced potatoes and is made of a special sauce: lime juice, Aji Amarillo, cream cheese, garlic, evaporated milk and crackers.

The sauce is doused over the potatoes and on top of it comes a hard boiled egg. Normally, Papa a la Huancaina is served as an appetizer or a small side dish, such as with an Arroz con Pollo.

The origin of this dish is the capital Lima and it got discovered by a Lady of the the city Huancayo, that’s where the name comes from.

Cities where you should try Papa a la Huancaina: Lima


3. Anticuchos de Corazon


I know it sounds weird, I got it, but the grilled bovine hearts (Anticuchos de Corazon) are so delicious!

The heart is leaner than a Filet Mignon, has a more beefy taste than a Ribeye Steak and as it is grilled on an open flame, it is just incredibly tasty.

Especially with a red wine on the side the Anticuchos de Corazon will be delicious. This delicatesse has its origin in the eastern part of the Andes and it is one of the most famous dishes in all of Peru.

Cities where you should try Anticuchos de Corazon: Lima, Cusco, Arequipa


4. Ceviche


Let’s continue with the famous Ceviche, probably the most traditional Peruvian food. You should definitely try this dish when you are at a coastal city of Peru (such as Lima), because here the fish they serve is very fresh!

One interesting fact is that the Peruvian Ceviche is prepared completely different than in other South American countries.

The white fish is inserted in lime juice with onions and then it will be served as raw fish!

The Ceviche is always served with sweet potatoes (camote) and corn (choclo) in order to reduce the spice of the chilis.

For everyone that likes it a bit crunchy, you can add some more “canchita” (little maize kernel) to your Ceviche.

Cities where you should try Ceviche: Lima


5. Papa Rellena

Papa rellena

Papa Rellena is a croquette filled with a meat-mix. It consists of ground beef, tomatoes, garlic, onions and capsicum.

Many chefs add some hard boiled eggs and black olives to give the dish a unique flavor. The mashed potatoes will be formed around the meat-mix and then fried in olive oil.

Papa Rellena is served with the famous Salsa Criolla (a famous Peruvian sauce), which consist of lime juice, vinegar, oil and is marinated with red onions, Peruvian chillis (Aji Amarillo) and parsley.

You can find Papa Rellena as a famous Peruvian street food and on many local menus.

Cities where you should try Papa Rellena: Cusco, Lima


Peruvian Food: Main Courses

6. Ají de Gallina

Aji de Gallina peruvian food

Ají de Gallina is a delicious peruvian dish, which consist out of a chicken, potatoes, crackers, olives, eggs, a chilli cream mix and it is served with rice.

It is one of the most traditional Peruvian dishes and you have to give it a try during your journey through Peru. Especially when in Cusco you should go for it.

Cities where you should try Ají de Gallina: Cusco, Lima


7. Lomo Saltado

Lomo Saltado

One of the most famous peruvian dishes is the famous Lomo Saltado – it’s a mix of Peruvian and Chinese food.

It consist of sliced tenderloin, onions, tomatoes, french fries and yellow chilis.

You will find Lomo Saltado on almost every menu in every Peruvian Restaurant all over the country.

Cities where you should try Lomo Saltado: Lima


8. Pachamanca


When you are in the centre of Peru, keep your eyes open for the popular dish Pachamanca.

It is a traditional rural dish which consist of vegetables, potatoes, meat and it will be cooked under the soil.

Way back in the past it was served without any meat, but today you will find it with roasted meat, such as beef or pig (in the Andean region).

You can enjoy the traditional Pachamanca in the following cities: Huancayo, Tamara, Jauja, in the Amazon Jungle, as well as in the north & south of the Andean mountains.

Cities where you should try Pachamanca: Huancayo, Tamara, Jauja, Amazonas


9. Cuy

Cuy guinea pig

Let’s continue with a local delicatesse – guinea pig (Cuy). Annually the Peruvians are eating around 65 million Cuys!

Many of the locals are eating the famous “Cuy al Horno”, where the guinea pig is baked in a wood stove.

This dish is not everyone’s favorite, but when you get the chance you should give it a try and think of the Incas that ate it many years before us.

Cities where you should try Cuy: Cusco


10. Arroz con Pato

Arroz con pato

This dish is a real Peruvian classic! The rice is cooked with a cilantro paste, spices and dark beer, which will give the dish an earthy flavor. In addition to that, you will get a roasted piece of duck (thigh or breast) which is served on top. This dish is famous in all of Peru and you will most likely find it everywhere.

The speciality of the dish is that it can be prepared in many different variations in regard of the rice-mix, consistency and the meat.

Another version is Arroz con Pollo, which is basically the same only that instead of duck you get a piece of chicken. Arroz con Pato has it origin from Lambayeque, a city in the north of Peru.

Cities where you should try Arroz con Pato: Lambayeque, Lima


11. Pollo a la Brasa

Pollo a la brasa peruvian food

Pollo a la brasa is one of the most popular dishes in Peru! A whole chicken will be marinated in a delicious combination of herbs, garlic, spices and after that it will be grilled.

Therefore it has a bronze color and the skin is crunchy. In addition you will get the famous Huacatay sauce (Peruvian black mint sauce) which will be served to the Pollo a la brasa – one of the best sauces out there!

It is kind of a creamy blend out of mint with cilantro, garlic and chilli on a mayo basis…and almost every Peruvian loves it!

Cities where you should try Pollo a la Brasa: Lima


12. Rocoto Relleno

Rocoto Relleno

Rocoto Relleno is another very delicious Peruvian meal. It is a grilled capsicum filled with vegetables and meat before scalloped in pastry.

Since over 5000 years Rocoto Relleno is made in Arequipa and that’s why there is no way you can miss it when you are there.

Cities where you should try Roco Relleno: Arequipa


13. Chaufa


A part of the Peruvian kitchen is a mix out of Peruvian + Chinese food and is called fusion cuisine.

The famous Chaufa is part of a fusion dish and consists of fried rice, Chinese onions, garlic, vegetables, chicken, ginger and everything will be mixed in a wok with soja sauce.

It can also be served with meat, such as beef or pork and also fish fish, such as shrimps or white fish (as you can see on the photo above)! There are over 9000 Chifas (Chifa is the name for a Peruvian-Chinese restaurant) in Lima.

Therefore, Lima is the perfect place to enjoy a delicious Chaufa.

Cities where you should try Chaufa: Lima


14. Chupe de Camarones

Chupe de camarones

This prawn chowder has his origins from the city Arequipa. It consist of a mix of prawns, onions, garlic, tomatoes, cream, cumin, beans and many other ingredients which will be served with a poached egg.

The Chupe de Camarones is a very hearty seafood soup, which you should definitely try when in Arequipa.

Cities where you should try Chupe de Camarones: Arequipa


15. Tacu Tacu

Tacu Tacu

Tacu Tacu is a popular Afro-Peruvian dish, which the Peruvians made in the past to use the remainings of the food.

The word originally comes from Quechua “Takuy”, which means “to mix the one thing with another”.

A traditional Tacu Tacu consist of beans, rice, garlic, pork, beef or egg, a fried banana slice and the whole thing will be seasoned with spicy pepper.

Normally, Tacu Tacu is formed as a hamburger and then it will get fried. Optionally, you have the choice to choose between lima beans, lentils or also chickpeas and add these to the dish.

Cities where you should try Tacu Tacu: Lima


Peruvian Food: Desserts

16. Picarones


Everyone with a sweet tooth should listen carefully now: Try the delicious Picarones! Picarones are a mix of sweet potatoes, flour and they are served in a delicious honey sauce.

You will find Picarones on almost every street corner in Peru.

Cities where you should try Picarones: Lima (Parque de Kennedy – district: Miraflores)


17. Mazamorra Morada

Mazamorra morada

The popular dessert, Mazamorra Morada, is a hit during the whole year in Peru, especially in the winter and spring months.

The dessert consist of a complex flavor set, such as purple corn, cinnamon and a diversity of fruits, like pineapple, cherry, peach and apricot.

The consistency of Mazamorra Morada is very viscous because of the sweet potato flour, which is responsible for the gelatin-like consistency. It’s served with some rice pudding on the side.

Cities where you should try Mazamorra Morada: Lima, Cusco, Arequipa


18. Alfajores

Alfajores peruvian food desert

That is probably the most famous cookie in all of Latin America – Alfajores! Peruvians love their Alfajores and you will find them literally everywhere, in markets, bakeries or on the street.

The cookie is a kind of sandwich that consists of two soft layers. It’s filled with Manjar Blanco (a sweet caramel creme).

Some powdered sugar is added on top of it. Alfajores are a little bit dry and taste sweet. They are the perfect fit with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate.

Cities where you should try Alfajores: Lima

Enjoy the Incredible Peruvian Food!

We hope that you can try as much as possible of the Peruvian food mentioned above when you’re traveling in the country of the Incas.

Without a doubt, visiting Peru’s beautiful sites and enjoying the delicious Peruvian gastronomy is an unbeatable combination. Trust us, this sets the tone for an unforgettable vacation.

Or have you already been in Peru and we forgot to mention your favorite dish? Please let us know in the comments!

And now that you know what is the best food to try in Peru, it’s time to find out more about typical Peruvian drinks.


Photo Credits:

  • 17 September, 2023 at 11:00 am

    I had Peruvian food in Chicago at an incredible place! So I am super excited to try Lomo Saltado.

    • 20 September, 2023 at 4:56 am

      Hi there,
      that is totally true! And you should definitely pair the delicious food with one of the typical Peruvian drinks.

      PS: Pisco Sour is my favorite.


  • 20 August, 2023 at 1:49 am

    I am in love with lomo saltado and the hot ssauce. Couldn’t get enough of that one.

    • 21 August, 2023 at 8:58 am

      Hey Jack! Oh absolutely, we’re also big fans of the Lomo Saltado. The hot sauce you’re referring to is locally known as “aji” or “rocoto” and adds the perfect amount of spice to any dish. We love it, too!


  • 9 August, 2023 at 8:36 am

    The food is really one of the best in the world… the only food missing is: tiradito. LOVE IT

    • 9 August, 2023 at 8:46 am

      Hi Joel,
      thanks a lot for your comment and you are totally right! Tiradito is truly delicious. We’ll make sure to add this amazing Peruvian meal to our blog.
      Thanks for your feedback.


  • 28 February, 2022 at 12:31 pm

    Mhm the food looks truly delicious! Any recommendations for a delicious Alpaca steak in Cusco?

    • 1 March, 2022 at 5:50 am

      Hello Tom, the Peruvian cuisine is one of the best! And for sure we have a recommendation for you. One of our personal favorites was Uchu Peruvian Steakhouse, the meat was truly outstanding there. Please feel free to read more about our best restaurants in Cusco

      team exploor

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