South America Travel News

Peruvian cuisine: South America's latest culinary adventure

Peruvian cuisine has recently been creating a stir among adventurous culinary experts looking for the next best international food destination. Using only the freshest ingredients, whether it's raw seafood or crisp cilantro, Andean chefs have been conjuring up incredibly delicious dishes for generations, and only now is the rest of the world getting to know the nation's somewhat eclectic cuisine. During a tour of Peru, daring foodies will have the chance to fill their stomachs with dishes like ceviche, cuy and even alpaca jerky.

What's so amazing about Peruvian food?

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, New York chef Dan Barber discussed why he thinks this nation's food should be considered the latest and greatest culinary conquest among travelers and gastronomic experts alike.

"I was thrilled by the food, experiencing flavors I don't usually get to experience," Barber told the news source. "The raw fish stuff was brilliant, consistently incredibly flavorful and refreshing and filling."

The dish Barber ate was ceviche, which Peruvian chef Gaston Acurio has made accessible to thousands of visitors at more than 32 restaurants around the world. Acurio, who was born and raised in Peru, hopes that spreading his nation's cuisine will help attract more travelers to the beautiful country.

Peruvian dining 101

Thanks to the Humboldt Current running off the coast of Peru, the ocean is brimming with varying types of seafood, which are graciously used in ceviche. If you're taking a Peru tour and have a penchant for raw oysters, you won't want to miss your chance to feast on a refreshing bowl of ceviche. Prepared with red onion, aji pepper, sweet potato and corn, the dish is filled with whichever fish is most fresh that day. Don't be afraid to sip up the remaining citrus marinade like milk from a bowl of cereal - even locals savor every last drop.

If you're feeling a little more daring, you may find yourself in a restaurant that serves alpaca jerky, a staple among Andean communities for centuries. Although you might think the term "jerky" comes from Jamaica, it actually originated from the local Quechua word "charqui" which means "to burn." The process behind the chewy snack was discovered as a means for preserving meat when villagers accidentally dried out alpaca meat in the sun.

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