Home to acclaimed chefs and award-winning restaurants, two of which made it onto the prestigious World's 50 Best Restaurants list this year, Peru is fast becoming the world's most sought after gastronomic nation. The destination is increasingly recognised for its culinary tours, food safaris, world class cooking schools and food festivals.
The richness of Peruvian cuisine stems mainly from the combination of Spanish cuisine with traditional native Peruvian ingredients with later influences from Chinese, Italian, West African and Japanese immigrants. Coupled with a variety of native foods and dishes such as fresh fruits and cereals, Peru's cuisine is now proclaimed as the best in Latin America due to the wide variety and flavours from the various regions.
With such a diverse geographical landscape and long history, it is no surprise that local cuisine varies from region to region and has evolved to reflect the rich and varied cultural heritage of the people, its ancestors and more modern influences.
Lima is the traditional City of Kings, the capital of the country and gateway to Peru. It has been declared the Gastronomic Capital of Latin America thanks to its excellent world class restaurants serving national and international cuisine. Creole food, the mix of Spanish and local cuisines, includes the highly-recommended 'Causa' - a cold chicken or shellfish potato pie with tomatoes and avocado. 'Tamal' - a hot dry corn mash filled with hot peppers, chicken or pork, wrapped in banana tree leaves and slow cooked. Another favourite is Cebiche - a dish made with raw fish which is now enjoyed all around the world.
Cusco's restaurants provide authentic specialties from the Novo-Andean style which use the same ingredients as the pre-Incan ear: tubbers, corns, llama and alpaca meat, trout and guinea pig, these flavours have been enhanced with the introduction of bread, rice and pasta. The Pachamanca is a typical country lunch where different meats and vegetables are cooked underground with red-hot stones, resulting in a tasty healthy meal. Arequipa located in the south of the country also offers delicious regional cuisine through a variety of Novoandian restaurants and Picanterias (traditional restaurants where they used to cook over open flame).
The cuisine of the jungle, as exuberant and exotic as the Amazon itself, is vast and still unknown. The paiche is an exceptional river fish, combined with the fruits which are continuously being discovered such as the camu-camu, are the perfect ingredients for their exquisite dishes.