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Popular Peruvian Food: 3 Things You Must Try


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Lani Barden



Peruvian cuisine is acclaimed worldwide for its rich and diverse flavors, blending indigenous traditions with influences from Spanish, African, Chinese, and Japanese cultures. It is no wonder that Peru has become a food lover’s paradise, with its capital city Lima being recognized as the culinary capital of Latin America. From fresh ceviche to flavorful anticuchos and hearty lomo saltado, Peruvian food offers a delightful gastronomic adventure.


The cuisine of Peru reflects the country’s geographical diversity, which includes the coastal region, the Andean highlands, and the Amazon rainforest. Each region has its own distinct ingredients and cooking techniques, resulting in an extraordinary range of flavors and dishes.


Peruvian cuisine has gained global recognition in recent years, with several Peruvian chefs earning prestigious awards and Peruvian restaurants popping up in major cities around the world. So, if you’re a food lover or an adventurous eater, exploring the culinary delights of Peru is a must-do.


In this article, we will take a closer look at three popular Peruvian dishes that you must try when visiting this gastronomic paradise: ceviche, anticuchos, and lomo saltado. Each of these dishes represents the unique flavors and culinary expertise of Peru.



Ceviche is undoubtedly one of the most famous and beloved dishes in Peru. It is a refreshing and flavorful seafood dish that showcases the country’s coastal influence. Ceviche is made by marinating fresh raw fish or seafood in citrus juices, typically lime or lemon, which effectively “cooks” the fish. The acidity of the citrus juice, along with the addition of onions, cilantro, and chili peppers, creates a tantalizing combination of flavors.


Peru’s coastal waters offer an abundance of delicious fish and seafood, making ceviche a staple in coastal towns and cities. The most commonly used fish in ceviche include sea bass, sole, and flounder. However, variations with shrimp, octopus, and mixed seafood are also popular.


The preparation of ceviche is simple yet precise. The fish is traditionally cut into small bite-sized pieces and marinated in the citrus juice for a specific amount of time to ensure optimal “cooking” and flavor infusion. The addition of sliced red onions adds a mild tangy flavor, while chopped cilantro and spicy ají peppers provide a fresh and vibrant kick.


Ceviche is typically served with accompaniments such as sweet potato, corn, and lettuce. The combination of the tangy, citrusy fish with the creamy, starchy sweetness of the potato creates a perfect balance of flavors and textures. The corn adds a delightful crunch, while the lettuce offers a refreshing element to the dish.


When you take your first bite of ceviche, you’ll be greeted with a burst of citrusy flavors, the natural sweetness of the fish, and the delightful heat from the chili peppers. It is a true sensory experience, and each bite is a culinary delight.


Whether you’re enjoying ceviche at a seaside restaurant in Lima or sampling it from a street cart in a coastal town, this iconic Peruvian dish is a must-try for seafood lovers and adventure-seeking foodies alike.



Anticuchos are a popular street food in Peru that originated from the African influence in Peruvian cuisine. These flavorful skewers are made with marinated and grilled meat, typically beef heart, although other cuts of meat like chicken, beef, and pork can also be used. The word “anticuchos” comes from the Quechuan language, meaning “cut stew.”


The preparation of anticuchos involves marinating the meat in a mixture of vinegar, garlic, cumin, and aji panca, a Peruvian chili pepper paste that adds a smoky and slightly spicy flavor. The marinated meat is then skewered and grilled over open flames, imparting a delicious smoky char. The grilling process enhances the meat’s tenderness and infuses it with the robust flavors of the marinade.


Anticuchos are traditionally served with a side of boiled potatoes and a tangy, creamy dipping sauce called huacatay. Huacatay sauce is made from huacatay leaves, a type of Peruvian black mint, blended with garlic, cheese, and mayonnaise. The sauce adds a zesty and herbaceous element that complements the rich flavors of the anticuchos perfectly.


When you bite into an anticucho, you’ll experience the tender and succulent meat combined with the smoky, garlicky, and slightly spicy marinade. The contrast of textures and flavors creates a mouthwatering combination that is truly satisfying.


Although anticuchos are often associated with street food, they are also served in restaurants throughout Peru. In fact, they have become so popular that there are even dedicated anticucherías (anticucho restaurants) that specialize in these delectable skewers.


Anticuchos are a favorite among locals and visitors alike, representing the vibrant and diverse culinary landscape of Peru. Whether you enjoy them as a quick snack from a street vendor or savor them in a restaurant, anticuchos are a must-try for meat lovers looking to explore the unique flavors of Peru.


Lomo Saltado

Lomo Saltado is a classic Peruvian stir-fry dish that beautifully combines the flavors of Chinese and Peruvian cuisine. This fusion dish is a testament to Peru’s historical connection with Chinese immigrants who brought their culinary traditions to the country.


The star ingredient of Lomo Saltado is thinly sliced beef tenderloin, which is marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, and spices. The marinated beef is then stir-fried with onions, tomatoes, and aji amarillo, a Peruvian yellow chili pepper that adds a mild heat and vibrant color.


What sets Lomo Saltado apart from other stir-fry dishes is the inclusion of a Peruvian staple, french fries. The stir-fried beef and vegetables are typically served atop a bed of crispy, golden-brown french fries, adding a unique and delightful twist to the dish. The combination of tender beef, flavorful vegetables, and crispy fries creates a medley of textures and flavors that is truly satisfying.


Lomo Saltado is often served with a side of white rice, allowing you to savor the dish with a perfect balance of protein, vegetables, and carbohydrates. The flavors of soy sauce and vinegar infuse the meat and vegetables with a savory and tangy essence, making each bite an explosion of taste.


This popular Peruvian dish can be found in both casual eateries and high-end restaurants throughout Peru. Its popularity extends beyond the borders of the country, with Lomo Saltado frequently appearing on menus in Peruvian restaurants around the world.


Whether you enjoy it at a bustling restaurant in Lima or recreate it in your own kitchen, Lomo Saltado is a must-try dish that exemplifies the delicious fusion of Chinese and Peruvian flavors.



Peruvian cuisine is a true culinary treasure, offering a tantalizing fusion of flavors and influences from various cultures. From the fresh and zesty ceviche to the savory and smoky anticuchos and the hearty and satisfying lomo saltado, Peruvian food has something to offer for every palate.


Exploring the vibrant and diverse culinary landscape of Peru is an experience that should not be missed. Whether you’re wandering the streets of Lima, exploring the coastal towns, or venturing into the Andean highlands, you are sure to encounter a wide array of delicious and unique dishes that will tickle your taste buds.


Peruvian cuisine is not just about the taste; it is also about the cultural heritage and history that each dish represents. From the indigenous ingredients to the influence of immigrants, Peruvian food tells a story about the country’s past, present, and future.


As you indulge in the delectable flavors of ceviche, anticuchos, and lomo saltado, you are immersing yourself in the vibrant culinary traditions of Peru. Each bite is a sensory experience, taking you on a journey through the diverse landscapes and rich heritage of the country.


So, whether you’re an adventurous eater or a food enthusiast looking to expand your culinary horizons, be sure to include these three must-try Peruvian dishes on your gastronomic journey. From the coast to the mountains, Peruvian food will captivate your taste buds and leave you craving for more.


Embark on a culinary adventure and savor the flavors of Peru – a country that knows how to delight and satisfy food lovers from around the world.