The Top Thing to Eat: Lima

Written: The Top Thing Staff | July 7, 2023

1. Ceviche

Ceviche is a popular Peruvian dish made of fresh seafood cured in citrus juices, typically lime or lemon. This curing process actually “cooks” the fresh seafood, resulting in a unique texture and flavor. The dish is often served with onions, chili peppers, and other seasonings that add a delightful kick to the fresh seafood.

Ceviche is commonly accompanied by sweet potato, corn, or lettuce, seafood, chili, red onion – adding layers of taste and texture to this refreshing dish. The combination of these ingredients from Lima creates a fusion cuisine experience that perfectly captures Peru’s culinary scene.

One interesting aspect of ceviche is its versatility; chefs around the world have put their own spin on this classic dish. For example, some variations include using different types of fish or adding quinoa for an extra crunch.

The popularity of ceviche in Lima has also led to its presence in top-rated restaurants globally as one of the must-try dishes when exploring Peruvian gastronomy.

2. Rocoto Relleno

Rocoto Relleno is a spicy Peruvian dish that showcases the unique flavors and culinary expertise of Lima. It consists of rocoto peppers stuffed with seasoned meat, creating a delightful blend of spiciness and savory goodness. These stuffed peppers are then baked to perfection and generously topped with melted cheese, adding a rich and creamy element to the dish.

The use of rocoto peppers in this dish not only provides heat but also contributes to its distinct flavor profile, making it an essential part of Peruvian cuisine. The incorporation of sweet potatoes as a side dish complements the spiciness, offering a balance between sweetness and heat.

One interesting aspect is how Rocoto Relleno represents the fusion of indigenous ingredients with Spanish influences, reflecting Peru’s diverse cultural heritage through its culinary traditions.

When in Lima, trying Rocoto Relleno at restaurants is an absolute must for food enthusiasts looking to explore the city’s gastronomic wonders. Its bold flavors and unique preparation make Lima restaurants an unforgettable dining experience that encapsulates the essence of Peruvian cuisine.

3. Cuy

Cuy, also known as guinea pig, holds a significant place in Peruvian cuisine and culture in Lima restaurants. This traditional Andean delicacy is deeply rooted in Peru’s culinary heritage and remains a must-try for visitors to Lima at restaurants.

Roasted whole cuy served with potatoes and aji sauce is a common preparation method. The dish offers an intriguing blend of flavors, with the crispy skin complementing the tender meat and the spicy kick from the aji sauce adding depth to its taste profile.

While some may find it unconventional due to cultural differences, cuy has gained popularity among locals and tourists alike as an emblematic dish representing Peruvian gastronomy. Its rich history and significance make it more than just another meal; it’s an experience that provides insight into Peru’s traditions and customs.

For those traveling to Lima, trying cuy presents an opportunity to immerse oneself in local culinary practices while gaining a deeper understanding of Peruvian culture. It’s not merely about savoring unique flavors but also about embracing the heritage behind this revered dish.

4. Anticuchos

Anticuchos are skewers of marinated and grilled beef heart, a popular street food in Peru. The marinade typically includes vinegar, garlic, cumin, and aji pepper. This dish showcases the rich culinary heritage of Peru.

In Lima, anticuchos are an integral part of the local food scene. They can be found at various street food stalls or small eateries throughout the city. The smoky aroma from the grilling process often draws in locals and tourists alike.

The use of beef heart as the main ingredient reflects traditional Peruvian cooking techniques that have been passed down through generations. It’s a prime example of how Peruvian cuisine incorporates indigenous ingredients into its dishes.

Furthermore, anticuchos offer a unique blend of flavors owing to their distinct marinade. The tanginess from the vinegar combined with the heat from aji pepper creates a tantalizing taste experience for those willing to try this authentic Peruvian delicacy.

When visiting Lima, trying anticuchos is not just about enjoying delicious food; it’s also an opportunity to immerse oneself in Peru’s vibrant culinary culture.

5. Lomo Saltado

Lomo Saltado is a delectable stir-fry dish that harmoniously blends marinated beef strips with onions, tomatoes, and various seasonings. This iconic Peruvian dish showcases the fusion of Chinese and Peruvian culinary traditions, resulting from the influx of Chinese immigrants to Peru in the 19th century.

The succulent beef combined with the savory flavors of sautéed vegetables creates a unique taste experience that has become synonymous with Peruvian cuisine. Its popularity extends beyond Peru’s borders, making it a celebrated international delicacy.

Typically served with either rice or French fries, Lomo Saltado offers a delightful combination of textures and tastes. The tender meat contrasts beautifully with the crispness of the fries or fluffiness of rice, providing an exquisite dining experience for both locals and tourists alike.

6. Aji de Gallina

Aji de Gallina is a creamy chicken stew that boasts a unique flavor profile derived from aji amarillo peppers and various spices. This Peruvian dish offers a delightful blend of creamy, spicy, and savory notes, making it an absolute must-try for anyone visiting Lima.

The traditional serving style sees the dish generously ladled over tender boiled potatoes, adding a textural contrast to the creamy stew. It’s adorned with slices of hard-boiled eggs and briny olives, enhancing both the visual appeal and taste complexity.

Its widespread popularity in Peru stems from its rich and comforting flavors which have earned it the status of being one of Peru’s beloved classic dishes. Aji de Gallina encapsulates the essence of Peruvian cuisine – bold flavors harmoniously combined with simple yet satisfying ingredients.

7. Pisco Sour

Pisco Sour, Peru’s national cocktail, is a delightful concoction made from pisco (grape brandy), lime juice, simple syrup, egg white, and bitters. The combination of these ingredients creates a refreshing citrusy flavor with a frothy texture that comes from the addition of egg white.

This iconic drink perfectly represents Peru‘s mixology tradition and is a must-try for anyone visiting Lima. The balance of sweet and sour flavors in the Pisco Sour makes it an ideal choice for those who appreciate well-crafted cocktails.

When in Lima, experiencing the local culture through its traditional beverages like Pisco Sour can add depth to your culinary journey. Whether sipped at a trendy rooftop bar or enjoyed at a cozy restaurant, this beloved drink offers an authentic taste of Peru’s rich gastronomic heritage.

8. Alpaca

Alpaca meat is lean and tender, often compared to veal or bison in taste and texture. Its low-fat content makes it a healthy choice for those looking to indulge without the guilt. Alpaca meat is high in protein and iron, making it a nutritious option for health-conscious diners.

In Lima, alpaca meat is a staple ingredient in various Peruvian dishes such as stews, steaks, or even burgers. This versatile meat lends itself well to different cooking methods and flavor profiles. For example, alpaca steak is often seasoned with traditional Peruvian spices like aji amarillo or rocoto pepper for an authentic culinary experience.

For adventurous food enthusiasts seeking unique dining experiences, trying alpaca meat should be on their list when visiting Lima. The novelty of consuming this exotic protein adds an element of excitement to any meal. Moreover, supporting local Peruvian cuisine by indulging in dishes featuring alpaca meat contributes to sustainable food practices and supports local farmers.

9. Pollo a la Brasa

Pollo a la Brasa, a staple in Peruvian cuisine, is rotisserie chicken marinated in aromatic herbs and spices then roasted to tender perfection. This dish embodies the rich flavors of Peru and has gained international acclaim for its delectable taste.

It is typically served with crispy fries, fresh salad, and an array of delightful dipping sauces such as huancaina or chimichurri. The combination of succulent chicken with these sides creates a harmonious blend of textures and flavors that delights the palate.

The popularity of Pollo a la Brasa extends beyond Peru’s borders, with many countries embracing this flavorful dish as part of their culinary landscape. In fact, it has become an iconic representation of Peruvian gastronomy worldwide.

This beloved dish showcases the fusion of indigenous ingredients with influences from various immigrant cultures over centuries, resulting in a unique flavor profile that captivates food enthusiasts globally.

10. Causa

Causa, a popular Peruvian dish, is a layered cold potato casserole that typically features avocado, chicken or tuna salad, and mayonnaise-based sauces. The smooth and creamy texture of the mashed potatoes combined with the richness of the fillings creates a delightful combination of flavors in every bite.

This dish not only highlights the deliciousness of Peruvian cuisine but also showcases the versatility of potatoes in creating diverse culinary experiences. From its humble origins as an indigenous Andean staple to its transformation into a beloved national dish, causa represents Peru’s rich food culture.

In addition to being served as a standalone meal, causa often makes an appearance as a side dish in traditional Peruvian gastronomy. Its adaptability allows it to be enjoyed alongside various main courses or as part of larger spreads during festive occasions.

With its vibrant colors and intricate layers, causa is not just about taste; it’s also visually appealing. This attention to detail reflects the meticulous approach taken by Peruvian chefs when preparing their dishes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Ceviche?

Ceviche is a popular Peruvian dish made from fresh raw fish cured in citrus juices, such as lemon or lime, and spiced with chili peppers. It’s typically served with onions, corn, sweet potato, and lettuce.

Where can I find the best Rocoto Relleno in Lima?

For an authentic taste of Rocoto Relleno in Lima, head to traditional Peruvian restaurants like La Rosa Nautica or Panchita. These establishments are known for their mastery of this spicy stuffed pepper dish.

Is it safe to try Cuy (Guinea Pig) in Lima?

Yes, trying cuy is safe as long as it’s prepared at reputable restaurants or food stalls. The meat is traditionally roasted and seasoned with local spices to create a unique culinary experience that many visitors enjoy.

What makes Pisco Sour a must-try beverage in Lima?

Pisco Sour is a delightful cocktail crafted from pisco (grape brandy), lime juice, syrup, egg white foam, and Angostura bitters. Its refreshing tanginess combined with the smoothness of pisco makes it a signature drink worth savoring while visiting Lima.

Can vegetarians find suitable options among the top things to eat in Lima?

Absolutely! Dishes like Aji de Gallina (spicy creamed chicken without chicken), Causa (potato terrine filled with vegetables), and vegetarian versions of Lomo Saltado can be found at various eateries across Lima. These options offer rich flavors without meat.