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Cuisine in Peru
 
 
 

General

Cuisine in Peru is considered to be one of the most diverse in the world and is on par with French, Chinese and Indian cuisine. In January 2004, The Economist stated that "Peru can lay claim to one of the world's dozen or so great cuisines", while at the Fourth International Summit of Gastronomy Madrid Fusión 2006, regarded as the world's most important gastronomic forum, held in Spain between January 17 and 19, Lima was declared the "Gastronomic Capital of the Americas".

Thanks to its pre-Incas and Inca heritage and to Spanish, Basque, African, Sino-Cantonese, Japanese and finally Italian, French and British immigration (mainly throughout the 19th century), Peruvian cuisine combines the flavours of four continents. With the eclectic variety of traditional dishes, the Peruvian culinary arts are in constant evolution, and impossible to list in their entirety. Suffice it to mention that along the Peruvian coast alone there are more than two thousand different types of soups, and that there are more than 250 traditional desserts.

The great variety in Peruvian cuisine stems from three major influences:

• Peru's unique geography;
• Peru's openness and blending of distinct races and cultures;
• the incorporation of ancient cuisine into modern Peruvian cuisine.

Regional Dishes

The Coast

The cuisine of the coast can be said to have four strong influences besides the indigenous: the Moorish, the African, the Chinese and the local native.

The Pacific Ocean is the principal source of aquatic resources for Peru. Peru is one of the world's top two producers and exporters of unusually high-protein fish meal for use in livestock/aquaculture feed. Its richness in fish and other aquatic life is enormous, and many oceanic plant and animal species can only be found in Peru. As important as the Pacific is to Peru's biodiversity, freshwater biomes such as the Amazon River and Lake Titicaca also play a large role in the ecological make-up of the country.

Every coastal region, being distinct in flora and fauna populations, adapts its cuisine in accordance to the resources available in its waters.

Ceviche/, with its many different variations (pure, combination, or mixed with fish and shellfish) is a good example of this regional adaptation. Ceviche is found in almost all Peruvian restaurants specialised in this country's world renowned fish and seafood. Lima alone holds thousands of them, from the simple to very fancy ones. Typically served with camote, or sweet potato.

The chupe de camarones (shrimp cioppino) is one of the most popular dishes of Peruvian coastal cuisine. It is made from a thick freshwater shrimp (crayfish) stock soup, potatoes, milk and chilli pepper. Regarded as typical from Arequipa, chupe de camarones is regularly found in Peruvian restaurants specialised in Arequipan cuisine.

Lima & Central Coast

A centre of immigration and centres of the Spanish Viceroyalty, Lima and Trujillo have incorporated unique dishes brought from the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadors and the receiving of many waves of immigrants: African, European, Chinese and Japanese. Besides international immigration – a large portion of which happened in Lima – there has been, since the second half of the 20th century, a strong internal flow from rural areas to cities, in particular to Lima. This has strongly influenced Lima's cuisine with the incorporation of the immigrant's ingredients and techniques (eg. the Chinese extensive use of rice or the Japanese approach to preparing raw fish).


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