Once a secret to everyone but well-traveled foodies, casual diners around the globe are now becoming acquainted with the flavors of Peru. With a geographically varied terrain, the nation is home to some of the greatest horticultural diversity on the planet. Thousands of potato varieties and over fifty distinctive types of corn grow naturally across the land. These starches, alongside quinoa and legumes, are considered the staples of traditional Peruvian cuisine.
Aji amarillo, a spicy, fruity chili, and aji rocoto, a round, flaming-hot pepper, are among the most widely-used ingredients in Peruvian cuisine. Cebiche, a dish made from fresh fish, a lime marinade, and onions is almost always flavored with aji chilis. This iconic national dish is often accompanied by other Peruvian staples such as sweet potato, avocados, or plantains.
Modern Peruvian flavors are best exemplified, however, by the nation’s fusion cuisine. Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, and African influences are especially visible in the nation’s most popular meals. Dishes like lomo saltado, a stir-fried beef dish served over french fries and rice, highlight the ways in which Chinese preparation methods fuse with Peruvian staple crops. Sweets like alfajores and street food favorites like chicharrónes and empanadas reflect the nation’s Spanish colonial heritage. This melting pot of international influences has transformed traditional Peruvian meals into the fusion cuisine we know today.
Few eateries highlight the flavors of Peru better than La Costanera Restaurant, the Bay Area’s top destination for South American fare. Allow renowned Peruvian chef Carlos Altamirano to introduce you to the flavor-packed fusion cuisine of his native country. Enjoy, for instance, a refreshing pisco sour cocktail, spicy seafood cebiche, and an ambrosial vanilla bean panna cotta soaked in a passion fruit reduction sauce. Whether you’re craving something fruity and fiery or fatty and fried, an evening meal at La Costanera is guaranteed to fulfill all of your desires!