It is not surprising to learn that ceviche, the national dish of Peru, comes from its large coastal region; after all, Peruvian cuisine owes a lot of its diversity and refinement to the development of certain communities and societies along the Pacific.
The history of Peruvian cuisine starts with the Inca Empire, which was once divided over four regions that roughly correspond to the lands known these days as Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. The diversity of Peruvian foodcan be attributed to all the agricultural regions that ran along the Andes, the Amazon, the Pacific coast, the plains, and the arid regions under the Inca Empire.
The coastal region of Peru is divided into the warm north and the cooler central and southern areas. Both areas feature abundant seafood and farming; When the Spanish arrive in the 16th century, their trading and administrative systems were implemented in the viceroyalty of Lima, which became one of the most important cities in South America. The Spanish ships came loaded with spices such as garlic, onion, cilantro, parsley, and pepper; these had been adopted across Europe from the Far East. In later decades, the Spanish brought livestock and poultry.
In the 18th century, the indigenous and Spanish cuisines merged into criollo and mestizo. Slave ships would later expand the culinary influences, which mixed with seafood preparation along the coast. By the late 19th century, Lima was known around the world as an important economic center that welcomed European immigrants in search of entrepreneurship opportunities along the coast. Workers arrived from Italy, France and Germany to help with fishing as well as residential and infrastructure development. It did not take long for fusion cuisine to be prepared at the requisite Peruvian restaurant in each coastal community, and each kitchen was known to apply indigenous, African, European, and even Asian flavors to every meal.
If you want to learn more about the dishes discussed herein, you need to visit a Peruvian restaurant that really cares about gastronomical heritage. At La Costanera Restaurant in Montara Beach, our chef and kitchen staff will surprise you with Pacific coastal delicacies such as Tiradito de Concha, Pulpo a la Parrilla and Braised Mussels.