Best Peruvian Cuisine: Must-Try Traditional Peruvian Dishes‍

  • Apr 3, 2024
  • Reading time: 8 mins read
  • By Arunima
peruvian cuisine

Peru, often admired for its rich historical heritage and nature’s splendor, is also a paradise for food enthusiasts. With its fusion of Spanish, Asian, and indigenous flavors, Peruvian cuisine has quickly gained international recognition. 

The nation’s gastronomy has even attracted the attention of prominent brands such as Hubspot and Wordstream, who have acknowledged Peru’s culinary prowess. 

Let’s embark on a gastronomic journey and discover the top traditional dishes that you must try.

The Charm of Peruvian Cuisine

Peruvian cuisine presents a fusion of contrasts, where elements of heat and chill coexist harmoniously on a single plate, while zesty tangs intermingle with the starchy foundation, yielding flavors that are both robust and delicate. 

This amalgamation finds its essence in the use of spices and bold flavors, each element acting as a counterpoint to the other, orchestrating a symphony of taste sensations.

South America stands renowned for its culinary heritage, boasting a medley of flavors and a vibrant street food culture. However, it’s gastronomy that takes the lead, skillfully amalgamating contemporary cooking techniques with traditional ingredients and preparation methodologies.

Do You Know?
In 2020, 60% of professional chefs in the United States suggested Peruvian Cuisine as a “hot trend” for restaurant menus.

A striking example of this culinary innovation within its cuisine is the renowned restaurant Central, helmed by Virgilio Martinez.

 In the year 2023, Central achieved the accolade of being declared the world’s finest restaurant by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

 This recognition serves as a resounding testament to the prowess of cuisine on the global gastronomic stage.

Top 10 Must-Try Peruvian Dishes

Note: Each dish is accompanied by a vegetarian-friendly ranking, a calorie level, and a spice level. But we recommend ignoring the calorie count and diving straight into indulgence.f

Ceviche: The National Dish of Peru

Ceviche: The National Dish of Peru

Ceviche, proudly hailed as Peru’s national culinary treasure, possesses the potential to incite an immediate fascination. This creation features raw fish served chilled, with an established tradition of utilizing sea bass or any resilient, lean, white fish. 

These piscine morsels undergo a marinade of lime juice, onion, salt, and fiery chilies, resulting in a harmonious symphony of flavors.

Fun Fact: 
Peru has More Than 55 Varieties of Corn

In an effort to achieve equilibrium, this dish often shares the plate with starchy boiled corn and sweet potatoes. Should you wish to embark on the journey of crafting this fish ceviche, our genuine recipe shall impart the requisite knowledge.

  • Suitable for Vegetarians: Specifically tailored for peso/ovo/lacto vegetarians (inclusive of fish, eggs, and dairy).
  • High Calorie: No. Low-calorie and low-carb without the starches
  • Spicy: Medium to hot spicy, depending on preparation

Lomo Saltado: The Stir-Fry Marvel

Lomo Saltado

Lomo Saltado merges the enticing realms of Chinese stir-fry with the timeless essence of culinary artistry. This creation unfolds with strips of tender beef, elegantly marinated in the embrace of soy sauce, before being enticed into a wok alongside onions, tomatoes, aji chillies, and a symphony of spices. 

The meticulous stir-frying endeavor culminates in beef that’s meticulously perfected in its succulence. To complete this culinary composition, the dish is presented in concert with a portion of golden-brown french fries and a mound of fragrant, steaming white rice.

  • Vegetarian-Friendly: No
  • High Calorie: Moderate calorie count
  • Spicy: Medium spicy, depending on preparation

Cuy Asado: A Delicacy to Remember

Cuy Asado:

Cuy, commonly referred to as guinea pig, holds the position of the second most favored meat source in the Andean region. This delicacy entails the guinea pig being skillfully filled with indigenous herbs, subsequently undergoing a roasting process over an open wood fire. 

Typically accompanied by potatoes and adorned with a dash of aji amarillo sauce, this dish emerges as a distinctive culinary offering. If feeling brave, give Cuy Asado a try next time you come to Peru.

  • Vegetarian: Definitely a no.
  • High Calorie: No, lean protein with just the right amount of fat.
  • Spicy: Depends on if you eat it with the aji sauce or not.

Aji de Gallina: The Creamy Delight

Aji de Gallina

Aji de Gallina involves tender shredded chicken enveloped in a luscious, velvety sauce crafted from a medley of cream, crushed walnuts, white cheese, and the distinct kick of aji Amarillo. 

Frequently presented atop a foundation of rice, accompanied by boiled potatoes, and adorned with black olives, this composition takes on a sumptuous, chowder-like texture that brims with richness and indulgence.

  • Vegetarian-Friendly: No
  • High Calorie: Yes, it boasts a generous abundance of delectable fats and carbohydrates.
  • Spicy: No

Papas a la Huancaina: The Creamy Potato Miracle

Papas a la Huancaina

Papas a la Huancaina holds a place of prominence within Peruvian gastronomy, celebrated widely for its popularity. This culinary delight involves slices of golden potatoes luxuriating beneath a luscious blanket of pureed queso fresco, aji amarillo, garlic, egg, evaporated milk, and lime juice. 

The culmination of these components yields a dish that is both indulgently creamy and delightfully tangy, offering a satisfying and gastronomic experience.

Interesting Fact
Papas a la Huancaina emerged during the construction of Peru’s Central Railroad, stretching from Lima to Huancayo. 

  • Vegetarian-Friendly: Yes, if you leave out the eggs (for vegans)
  • High Calorie: Yes, but it tastes like hopes and dreams
  • Spicy: If you make it spicy, but generally no.

Causa: The Potato Casserole Wonder


This Quechan delicacy is pervasive across Peru, showcasing a plethora of renditions. Among these, Causa Limeña takes prominence – a preparation featuring yellow potatoes artfully melded with oil, zesty lime, and a piquant aji amarillo sauce. This iteration stands as the best rendition of the dish.

  • Vegetarian Friendly: If prepared with a protein substitute
  • High Calorie: No
  • Spicy: Barely

Rocoto Relleno: The Stuffed Spicy Peppers

Rocoto Relleno

It is a dish that’s not for the faint-hearted. Rocoto peppers, about ten times hotter than a jalapeno pepper, are cored and hollowed out, stuffed with a ground beef mixture, topped with queso fresco, and baked in an egg-and-milk custard.

Tourists Arrival

You Know What?
The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the Peruvian tourism sector in 2020. Fortunately, a noticeable recovery has been witnessed in that year. Therefore, the country registered around 2 million inbound visitors. 

  • Vegetarian: If made with a vegetarian protein substitute.
  • High Calorie: No, lean and delicious
  • Spicy: Very, very spicy.

Anticuchos de Corazon: The Grilled Heart Surprise

Anticuchos de Corazon

Anticuchos de Corazon, or beef heart skewers, are a delicious, lean meat dish you must try. The beef heart cubes are marinated in vinegar, cumin, aji, and garlic, and then grilled over charcoal to a medium-rare temperature.

  • Vegetarian Friendly: Not even close.
  • High Calorie: No, exceptionally lean meal
  • Spice level: Moderate

Arroz Con Pato: The Rice with Duck Delight

Arroz Con Pato

Arroz Con Pato, though appearing deceptively simple, stands as a culinary creation in Peru, boasting a myriad of interpretations.

 The foundational rice is skillfully infused with the essence of cilantro paste, an assortment of herbs, and the robust depth of dark beer, imparting a hearty and earthy dimension to its flavor profile. 

A finishing touch of roast duck crowns the composition, rendering this dish a familiar presence on countless dining spreads.

  • Vegetarian Friendly: Not if you make it with duck
  • High Calorie: Yes
  • Spicy: No

Pollo a la Brasa: The Roasted Chicken Marvel

Pollo a la Brasa

Pollo a la Brasa, arguably the most recognizable culinary offering in the United States, presents a spectacle of roasted chicken. This dish entails a marination process, wherein a whole chicken luxuriates in a potent infusion of garlic, herbs, and an array of spices. 

You Need to Know!
The Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants list is dominated by cuisine from Peru.

The culmination of flavors is then masterfully brought to life as the chicken is subjected to spit roasting over hardwood, resulting in a divine exterior boasting a crispness and an earthy essence that captivates the senses.

  • Vegetarian Friendly: Not unless you hold the chicken
  • High Calorie: No, mostly protein
  • Spicy: No

Picarones: The Dessert to Remember


Picarones, a cherished Peruvian dessert (and sometimes breakfast delicacy), takes form from a doughnut-esque batter that is expertly deep-fried, often gracing the table alongside a drizzle of syrup. The batter itself is crafted using ingredients such as butternut squash, pumpkin, or sweet potato, bestowing it with a distinct essence.

  • Vegetarian Friendly: Yes
  • Calories: off the scale; definitely not for dieters
  • Spicy: No.


If you’re an eater or a stickler for familiar tastes, the diversity of flavors is worth exploring. From the tangy ceviche to the meaty lomo saltado, the creamy aji de gallina, or the sweet picarones, cuisine offers something for everyone.

 So next time you find yourself in Peru or at a Peruvian restaurant, don’t hesitate to order these dishes and experience the magic of cuisine. Provecho!


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