Home » South America » Peru » Taste your way through the streets of Peru

Taste your way through the streets of Peru

Author: Sarah Yekinni
Article contributed by: http://www.houseofwend.com/

One of the best ways to experience a new culture is through its cuisine. While traveling in Peru, I had a wonderful time exploring the seaside town of Miraflores in Lima, attending a local football match, visiting the historic city of Cusco and spending a day at Machu Picchu. But a highlight of the trip was the food tour I took through the streets of Lima.

Several companies offer food tours ranging in price and length. My boyfriend and I, along with another couple we were traveling with, booked a 3 hour tour for $35 with Food Walking Tour Peru. On the morning of our tour, the 4 of us gathered in Parque Kennedy where we met our guides Hari and Miquela. After introductions, we were off to taste our way through the streets of Peru, but not before a brief history lesson. Our first stop was to the Monumento a Victimas de Tarata, a memorial fountain erected to honor the victims of the 1992 terrorist attack. The bombing, which took place in the midst of the country’s civil war, left 25 dead and injured more than 200. This tragedy led to self-reflection and eventual reconciliation and a shift towards comradery among the population. Our guide Hari explained, “I know you signed up for a food tour, but it’s important to understand a bit of background about the place you’re visiting.” I appreciated learning some of Peru’s rich history and our guide’s perspectives. It highlighted the fact that although Peru enjoys relative peace and prosperity, it is not without its struggles.

With our minds enlightened and stomachs growling, we made our way to the first restaurant. Arrecife is locally owned and serves a variety of traditional cuisines. The ambiance was understated, but the food was an explosion of color and flavor, particularly the parihuela. This spicy seafood soup came out steaming and filled to the brim with a seafood medley that included squid, scallops, white fish, crawfish and muscles all nestled in a golden broth perfectly layered with flavors of chilies and fresh herbs creating a tangy, spicy, salty, smoky, citrusy bowl of yumminess.

Next up was El Sabrosa, where we stopped for ceviche, a culinary staple in Peru. Traditionally made by covering raw fish with a mixture of citrus and spices for several hours until the fish is thoroughly cooked. The seafood becomes tender after marinating in the broth. It is then served with a garnish of yucca, sweet potatoes, corn and thinly sliced onions. The sweetness from the corn and sweet potatoes perfectly balances the tanginess of lime juice and spices. A sprinkle of roasted corn nuts on top added an extra bit of saltiness and crunch and made for a perfectly delicious bite!

We then made our way to a local market, but not before stopping at a bodega for Inka Kola, the national beverage of Peru and a source of great pride for the country. This citron colored sweet soda was created and distributed in Peru and is known as “The drink of Peru”. Hari then led us through a traditional market where we smelled and sampled a variety of local spices, fruits and vegetables. The vibrant colors, intriguing scents and variety of mouthwatering flavors made for a wonderful experience. Samantha’s Comida Criolla was our next stop, where we sampled carapulcra, an Afro/Peruvian stew containing pork, dehydrated potatoes, peanuts, aji panca peppers and spices and served with rice, potatoes or yucca. It was spicy, savory and quite flavorful, but the highlight for me was the chicka morada, a tart yet sweet traditional juice drink made with purple corn. It is made by boiling the corn along with pineapple skin, apple slices, cinnamon and cloves for 3-4 hours. The mixture is then strained and sugar and lemon juice is added. The liquid is then placed in a freezer to chill before serving. The dark purple drink tasted bright and refreshing and I couldn’t get enough after spending the day walking and eating my way through Lima.

Our final stop was the Choco Museo or chocolate museum where we were given a brief history of chocolate making in South America and the process used to produce various types of chocolate. After the tour, we each sampled a dessert. I opted for the Mayan hot chocolate, which started with a base of hot goat milk that I could add melted milk chocolate, honey or chili powder to. The sweet and spicy drink was a sweet and delicious way to end the day that was filled with a variety of unique dishes and flavors.

If you are planning to visit Peru, a food tour is an absolute must! The folks at Food Walking Tour Peru provided a great experience filled with fun, flavor and a few surprises along the way!

Author's Bio:

Sarah Yekinni is a lawyer, blogger and travel lover who would much rather be on a plane than in an office. Her passion for travel and love of writing inspired her to create a space to share her experiences and engage with others who share her wending spirit. She launched houseofwend.com in hopes of encouraging her readers to embark on their own adventures and wend their way.

Peru Travel Stories
To Machu Picchu by Orient Express
There are times for roughing it and times for not. Peru, with its Third World plumbing, is one of those places where a comfortable hotel room is greatly prized. I've heard about freezing temperatures at some of the less expensive hotels in densely populated Cuzco and more primitive Aguas Calientes. Bear in mind that in Cuzco (at... read more...

The Birds of the Manu Biosphere Reserve
The Manu Biosphere Reserve has, within it's boundaries, the highest concentration of bird life on Earth. At the time of writing approximately 925 species have been recorded and ornitholigists expect this figure to break the 1000 mark in the near future as remoter areas of the reserve are explored. There are a little under 9000 species of birds in the world therefore, Manu holds one in every nine... read more...

Machu Picchu Abandoned, a Summary
Machu Picchu was probably built by Pachacuti Inca as a royal estate and religious retreat in 1460-70. After his death, it remained the property of his allus (kinship groups) who were responsible for maintenance, administration and continuing building. As a remarkable sacred site (location as well as buildings), it surely was visited by Topa Inca and the last great ruler, Huayna Capac, although... read more...

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Machu Picchu
A group of red-faced, perspiring Americans are working their way up a steep stone path into the nooks of a 550-year-old Inca settlement about 20 miles outside of Cuzco. Looking down on the Urubamba River, a silver ribbon winding 1.500 feet below, they have reason to wheeze. And their unruffled tour guide, who has yet to break a sweat,... read more...

Southern Comfort....My Trip on the Amazon
I couldn't believe it--my fourth day on the Amazon! Dawn was misty and cold--two things I never expected to encounter, but then, I never expected to encounter most of what I was seeing on this trip. I had joined a small group in the Miami airport for the once-per-week direct flight to Iquitos, Peru, gateway to the upper Amazon. Now, standing on the top deck of our ship, the Explorer, I marveled... read more...

Chacha Picchu, New Discoveries in Amazonas, Peru
As a sometime archaeologist and dedicated adventurer, I have been poking around backcountry Peru since the1960s. While making an income by guiding adventure programs, I have been compiling data on Inca roads and sites associated with the last Incas. For the past several years, I have focused my interest on Choquequirao, an unusual Inca ceremonial site located spectacularly high above the Apurimac... read more...