Saturday, December 7, 2013

My Top 10 Peruvian Foods ~ The Expat Diaries

Hello friends. And hello to winter holidays in the heat of summer! The holiday season hasn't quite hit me because of the weather and the under-commercialization of Christmas here in Peru. Although, I was really glad to indulge in all kinds of Thanksgiving delights last weekend with good friends. Life's good, I can't complain :)

Woohoo - I'm linking up with Rachel, Chelsea, and Kayleigh for The Expat Diaries!! Thanks gals for opening up this community space for expats and travelers to share. I'm going to bring the focus back to food...I hope you're on-board with that. 

So Peru is becoming more and more well-know in the food scene. Before I even came here I began to notice quite a few Peruvian restaurants popping up back in states. While there are tons of dishes and things out there I could go on about (perhaps there'll be a 2nd edition), I just narrowed the list down to 10 that I find particularly delicious and/or interesting. So, join me for dessert (it's always first, right?)?

Top 10 Peruvian Foods

Uno. PICARONES: These are pretty much fried sweet potatoes dough drizzled with a spiced honey syrup. Oh my yum (can you tell by my expression?)

{photo: Katie Alvarado}

Dos. ARROZ CON LECHE and MAZAMORRA: Another typical dessert which is sweet rice (with milk and cinnamon) and a pudding-like sauce from maÍz morada (purple corn). Mixed together, they're a perfect combo in my book!


Tres. ANTICUCHO: A very typical street food that are basically meat skewers, punctuated with a potato. In the evenings, mamítas(women) bring out their barbecues to grill these up! Oh, and they're typically made from beef heart (I'm not fond of) but there are other types too.

{Photo: Jan Ger}

Cuatro. CHOCLO: This is a variety of corn. I think it's really fun to eat because the kernels are so big! It's often boiled in a big pot right on the street corner and served with some squeaky (and salty) Andean cheese.

Cinco. CEVICHE: One of the most typical dishes in Peru. If you want some good ceviche, there are lots of good places I've heard on the coast in Lima. While I'm not a huge fan, most people really love this fish cooked by a lime marinade. Plus, it's a classic so it had to make the list!

{Photo: Jan Ger}

Seis. CUY: Aka, guinea pig! Yep, this is a special plate often found in the Andes for birthdays or other celebrations. It's pretty taste-y if well-prepared, as I describe in {this post}. If you can get over the little claws and head (nothing is hidden here), then I'd recommend giving it a chance. And you get bragging rights :)

{Photo: Frances McCorkle}

Siete. SALTADOS: Chicken, lamb, noodles...These are typical Peruvian-Asian fusion. Before coming to Peru I had no idea that there is such a large Asian influence (a Chifa post will come), much less that it would show in its gastronomy. This plate is one of my favorites because it's pretty much a stir-fry (can't go wrong!). In this picture, I attempted to reproduce pollo saltado in California for my turned out pretty well - I think they'd vouch for me ;)

Ocho. HUATIA: This isn't as much a type of food as it is a festival/tradition. Essentially, in the Andes during the harvest, people create underground ovens to cook veggies like potatoes, beans, etc. I really love this celebration of the season!

{read and see more here}

Nueve. TAMALES: These are another absolute favorite (I guess that's obvious because it's on this list)... Typical Limeño tamales are very different from Mexican tamales I'd had often (I'm from California p.s.). First they're wrapped in banana leaves for some extra flavor. And they don't have much meat in them. They are so delicious and the olive just tops it off wonderfully!

Diez. SOUPS: So in the U.S. occasionally you have the choice between a soup or salad at meals. Well, in Peru it's soup, soup, and soup! In fact, it's a typical part of nearly every meal. I miss having salads but I really like this tradition of having soup too. This one below was an interesting one made from some type of banana in the jungle.

Welp, thanks for having a little taste with me! Have you tried any of these? Or do you have another Peruvian favorite?

P.S. Another of my food-y posts here! Expat to Expat Q+A: Yummy Food

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