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Why Peru's cuisine is among the best in the world
Peru has long been considered in South America culinary front runner and the best restaurants in South America follow Peruvian cuisine. In the meantime, Peruvian cuisine has made a name for itself on the international market and Peru is seen as a culinary hotspot. For example, in 2013 40% of tourists said they came to Peru mainly because of the food having visited. Here you can find out what reasons make Peruvian cuisine so unique.
Reason 1: Three different climate zones and diversity
As we discussed in a previous article, Peru has three different geological areas with different climates. The three areas are the coast (Costa), the Andean region (Sierra) and the rainforest (Selva). The latter takes about 60% most of Peru one, while the majority of the population lives on the coast. Due to the three areas and climatic zones, completely different types of fruits and vegetables can grow in each of these land plains. The Peruvian cuisine is therefore favored with an abundance of different ingredients, which is also reflected in the food culture. A The distinct strength of Peruvian cuisine is therefore its diversity, which distinguishes it from other South American cuisines. Ingredients such as hot spices and tropical fruits can be taken from the rainforest, while potatoes and corn come from the Andean plateau. Fresh fish for Peruvian dishes like that Ceviche, is easiest to get from the coast of the country.
💡Trivia: The most famous vegetables that originally come from Peru include potatoes, chilli peppers, corn, tomatoes and (lima) beans.
Speaking of the climate, you can visit Peru in January, as it is pleasantly warm then. Where you can still find a warm climate in January: Where is it warm in January?
Reason 2: potato paradise
The potato is one of the most versatile and popular crops of the past centuries. In many European kitchens, especially in German, the potato is an integral part of many traditional dishes. For some, this may come as a shock, because in fact the potato is not available in Germany for too long. Well, it has been grown in Germany since the 17th century, although it originally comes from the Andes. Friends of the potato can look forward to it, because Peruvian cuisine is full of dishes based on the great tuber! It should be noted that in Peru there are not only classic table potatoes and sweet potatoes, but also over 2500 varieties. Whether purple, red, blue, green or black potatoes, in Peru you will find any color and shape of potatoes. One of the most famous potato dishes is Causa, a kind of mashed potatoes in the form of a cake, optionally filled with chicken or tuna.
💡Trivia: Over 99% of all today's types of potatoes all come from the potato variety Solanum tuberosumwhose origin lies in the Peruvian Andes.
Although the potato comes from Peru, cheese is clearly a European invention. You can find out which countries produce which cheese here: All cheese: A European tour for cheese lovers
Reason 3: The healthy pseudo-grain, the quinoa
In the last 10 years there have been a number of new superfoods in restaurants and vegetable departments in Germany, including Quinoa. The growing popularity of quinoa in Germany is no coincidence, because quinoa is extremely rich in protein and gluten-free. Quasi at the same time as the ever greater urge to eat healthier, the demand for healthy alternatives to standard grains rose. While the debut of the pseudograin in Germany was not long ago, quinoa is used in the Andes used since 5000. Quinoa therefore often bears the colloquial name Inca ice. Although Peru was not Peru 5000 years ago, quinoa can still be found in Peruvian cuisine today. Quinoa not only comes from what is now Peru, the Andean country is also the world's largest producer of quinoa. Quinoa is often served as a side dish to the main course not only in Peru, but all over South America.
💡Trivia: Quinoa requires little maintenance and can easily be grown at altitudes of up to 4200 meters.
Quinoa is an all-time favorite in vegan cuisine. In which cities you will find a high proportion of vegan-friendly restaurants, you can find out here: The 10 most vegan cities worldwide
Reason 4: The best restaurants in the world
As is well known, one can argue about taste, which is why we now look at the more objective reasons for Peru's cuisine. The fact that Peruvian cuisine is one of the best in the world is not just a subjective opinion. The fact is three Peruvian restaurants are up in recent years permanent representative in the top 50 of the world's best restaurants. Two of these three Peruvian restaurants are even in the top 10 this year, 33rd place for the restaurant Astrid y Gastón, in 8th place Maido and in fifth place is the restaurant Central. On a rainy day you can at least rely on good food in Lima! The neighboring countries of Peru also give Peruvian cuisine a good reputation. For example, if you ask about the best restaurants in Chile, a Peruvian restaurant is often recommended. In addition, Peru wins for six years in a row the title South America’s Leading CulinaryDestination both World Travel Awards.
💡Trivia: Peruvian cuisine is currently experiencing a huge boom. This new wave of Peruvian cuisine is called cocina novoandina, New Andean cuisine.
Another city with top restaurants is Tel Aviv. Let yourself be inspired by the 10 best bars & restaurants in Tel Aviv!
Reason 5: Chifa and Cocina Nikkei
The variety of ingredients is nice, the variety of ways of preparation is even better! Today's Peruvian would not be the one without external influences from immigrants, Chinese and Japanese immigrants to be precise. Chinese and Japanese guest workers immigrated to Peru in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, influencing many elements of today's Peruvian cuisine. The Japanese-Peruvian fusion cuisine is called cocina Nikkei and has particularly affected the preparation of fish dishes. A good example is Cevichewhere, thanks to the Japanese influence, the fresh fish is only briefly marinated in the lime and chilli sauce. Also the Chinese-Peruvian fusion cuisine, known by the term chifa, has changed the Peruvian food culture. Not aware of this, but rather because the ingredients for pure Chinese dishes were difficult to find in Peru. Chinese-Peruvian restaurants are now extremely popular, especially in the capital Lima. Thanks to this popularity, chifa as a food culture has even spread to neighboring countries of Peru.
💡Trivia: The restaurant Maido, which is ranked 8th of the best restaurants in the world, is a Japanese-Peruvian restaurant.
Asian cuisine is your favorite cuisine? Then you will like these dishes: 14 dishes from Southeast Asia that you absolutely have to try
Reason 6: ceviche
If we were talking about ceviche earlier, we can go into a little more detail here. After Llamas and Machu Picchu, ceviche is probably the best-known term associated with Peru. That one dish to the most famous features Belonging to a country naturally also indicates a distinctive food culture. If the term ceviche only raises question marks, we will now explain what the dish actually is. Ceviche is a fish dish consisting of fresh raw fish that is briefly in the Leche de Tigre (Tiger milk) marinade is inserted. The marinade is natural not real tiger milkbut consists of a mix of lime juice, garlic, chilli peppers and local spices. This process was refined by the Japanese guest workers in Peru and minimizes the risk of food poisoning in raw fish dishes. In Peru, ceviche is considered a national dish, which is why you should definitely be the dish in one Cevichería Should try in Lima.
Trivia: The exact origin of today's Ceviches, as well as the name, are much controversial as there are several theories.
You can get ceviche in Peru at a relatively cheap price from around € 5. Peru is generally quite cheap, it is one of the10 holiday destinations where you can spend less than € 5 per daycomes through.
💡Reason 7: Cuy chactado, grilled guinea pig
Well, admittedly, Cuy is not immediately a "reason" why Peruvian cuisine is one of the best. Here the rather keyword diversity comes into the spotlight again and the motto applies "Other countries other manners"! Cuys are from South America and are there kept as fattening animals for centuries. Cuys are also completely different from domestic guinea pigs, which are kept as pets in Europe, because Cuys are shy and not cuddly toys. In Peru, but also in Ecuador and Bolivia, Cuys are an important source of protein. In contrast to cows, Cuys need much less usable space and can also be kept at extreme heights. This is one of the most famous variants in Peruvian cuisine Cuy chactadowhich is typical of the city of Arequipa. Here the cuy is marinated in cayenne pepper, grilled and served whole, with the head. If you want to try it, just remember, we have suckling pigs, whole too.
Trivia: Incidentally, cuys were also considered fattening animals in Europe up to the 20th century and were eaten.
If Cuys are a bit too bizarre for you to eat, then wait until you've seen the following foods: The weirdest museums all about food worldwide
Reason 8: Mate and coca tea
As an Andean country, Peru is extremely mountainous and altitude sickness is not uncommon during a long stay in the country. Fortunately, there is one for this too natural remedywho have favourited Coca Plant. The leaves of the coca plant not only help against altitude sickness, but also against stomach upsets and headaches. Perhaps you are now wondering what does this have to do with Peruvian cuisine? Well, Peruvian cuisine is characterized by the fact that it has multiple uses for the simplest of ingredients. In the case of the coca plant, it is found in Peru as flour, tea, but also as a soft drink Mate de Coca. You will find tea in particular on almost every drink menu in Peru's restaurants. By the way, you need each other don't worry about being intoxicated, you would have to drink a lot of coca tea or mate to do this. Nevertheless, it is advisable not to take coca leaves with you to Germany as a souvenir.
💡Trivia: From 1885 to about 1903, Coca-Cola used coca leaf extract in its products.
Coca leaves help against diseases and the Skyscanner tools help you to find cheap tickets: Save with the Skyscanner tools “Whole month” or “Cheapest month” when booking a flight
Would you like to discover other destinations in South America?
- The 10 most beautiful travel destinations in South America
- Round trip through Peru: From Lima to Macchu Pichu in 14 days 🇵🇪
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