Peruvian culture is a rich tapestry of diverse influences. Over the years, European, Asian and West African immigrants, who brought their own culture and heritage, adapted local practices but retained aspects of their own. This creative intermingling had dramatic results especially when it came to Peruvian Food.
Tracing the Origins of Peruvian Flavors and Food.
The first inhabitants of Peru lived in the coastal areas and cultivated crops such as beans, chili peppers and maize. Potatoes were first grown in Peru, and the country is known for growing the most potato varieties. The Incas thrived on maize and potatoes until the Spanish conquerors introduced chicken, pork and lamb to the local fare. Africans brought foods such as their anise-flavored picarones while the Chinese and Japanese brought their condiments and unique food preparation methods.
A Taste for the Exotic
Even to some of the most seasoned foodies, Peru’s ceviche is exotic fare. Made from fresh fish marinated in citrus juices and embellished with peppers, onions, corn or sweet potatoes, ceviche as prepared in Peru is closer to raw than other versions, most likely inspired by sushi preparation techniques of the Japanese.
Aji de gallina is chicken stew infused with all possible flavors. The velvety texture and rich flavor comes from a combination of condensed milk, chicken broth, crushed yellow peppers and breading. This unusual combination results in a heady taste that is at once surprising and overwhelming.
Cuy is a staple meat and any local Peruvian Restaurant would have some version of the dish. The meat is typically baked or roasted on a spit with the head intact. The taste approximates the pleasant gaminess of wild fowl although it is more bone than meat.
Peruvian cuisine is rightfully described as fusion, a perfect blending of the old and the new and a harmonious medley of exotic and pleasing flavors. Nowhere is this more evident than at La Costanera Restaurant, a Peruvian restaurant on Montara Beach overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Chef Carlos Altamirano wields his magic, creating special dishes from authentic Peruvian ingredients. Come and experience a slice of Peru right in your own backyard.