It is difficult to talk about Peruvian cuisine without let our imagination fly happy and uncontrolled across so many aromas and flavors that excite our senses and make us salivate unconsciously as if we hear Pavlov ringing his small bell. And just the fact of hearing about is enough to acquire a special brightness on our eyes and our mouth outlining an accomplice smile of those who tell us: let wait your diet!
In this culture with a wide variety and supplies abundance, Peruvians for a long time have selected food as the way to express affection and flattery to our loved ones. That is because food means that and more in Peru. In contrast to other cuisines, it is not only an art, but it is passion, love, wanting to be the best host and to be able to transmit our feelings across aromas and flavors. Foreigners stay irremediably in love with the cuisine. People who live happily going out to eat Peruvian food in their own countries, prepared with love and obvious limitations by the skilled hands of our best ambassadors, would dream to taste here.
Race blending, culinary cultures and unique ingredients grew only in this blessed land which has 90% of all known microclimates turning it into the country with the world greatest biodiversity. An area of 2500 kilometers of the world richest sea, with cold and warm water currents coexisting in order to give us a variety of the best seafood that even the greatest experts can’t imagine.
Our seafood finds the best-known scenario in the well-known cevicherias, restaurants that have its name thanks to the best exponent of the Peruvian cuisine: Ceviche. Peruvian Ceviche had common roots with a similar dish prepared in other countries of South and Central America, but since four decades ago and thanks to the huge Japanese influence in Peru, it kept away from its close foreigners and became a delicacy with a unique personality in its over forty varieties. These same varieties go together with a huge variety of dishes and stews as entrees, soups, rice or succulent main dishes. Eat a Tiradito, Caracoles a la Piedra, a Chita Sudada or the exceptional Chita a la Sal is like taking a direct flight to paradise.
A few years ago there was a cultural recognition movement from which did not escape the cuisine, focusing on search what our ancestors ate and how they cooked. In that effort, renowned chefs got together with anthropologists and sociologists to create what is known nowadays as the novo-andina cuisine. Although it isn’t so strong like in the beginning, contribute greatly to the new fusion food or author cuisine restaurants, which abound in quality and quantity in the city. They restored above all wonderful ingredients used in ancient Peru but were forgotten for centuries due to the Spanish cultural pressure in colonial era. Mediterranean flavors and techniques merged into local cuisines therefore we have wonderful paellas; an exquisite Italian cuisine merged with the Peruvian; spectacular French food and excellent meat restaurants that allow us to choose in the same menu between a national, an Argentinean or American meat, but exquisitely prepared regardless of their origin.
Lima has the second largest Japanese colony in the world, after Sao Paulo and before Los Angeles. This mixture not only contributed to the reinvention of the ceviche, but it created the Nikkei cuisine (Peruvian-Japanese), playing with flavors, ingredients and mixed techniques. Humberto Sato is the greatest exponent of this cuisine and still leads the family restaurant but now it is helped by his young heirs of a tradition; therefore they are obliged to continue delighting our palates. The great Nobuyuki Matsushisa, known as the best Japanese chef worldwide, reinvented the Japanese cuisine with influence originally taken from Peru, and so the new cuisine NOBU was born.
On the other hand, large Chinese migrations began to arrive from Cantonese region about more than a hundred years ago, and with them came a delicious cuisine that provided unknown vegetables and legumes to Peruvian cuisine and merged Oriental flavors with local ones. The Chinese restaurants, here called Chifa, give us a varied and wonderful food that is not found anywhere and every visitor praises.
In recent years and in the constant pursuit for perfection, appears the name of Peruvian food: sum of our seafood, Creole food and so many things that are part of our daily meals. Likewise, renewed sandwiches flavors we use to eat as a child and now find its varieties in a new local chain. Even burgers are different in Peru because the used ones by well-known transnational companies have a much higher quality than in other countries, while Bembos, the leader of the local market, is a chain of national capital.
The Creole cuisine (Creole was the name given to the children of Spaniards born in Peru during the colony) meets a different world of originally Spanish food reinventing here with the ingredients they had on hand, but it was merged into the black slaves cuisine centuries ago and later into Arab Christians who arrived from Spain. The mixture result was great and we learned how to use the viscera with spectacular results, as it is evident when we eat anticuchos.
Whatever our food choice is, the national aperitif is, and will be, the Pisco Sour. We only use local ingredients to ensure the proper flavor and the high quality of this cocktail that has already over half a century delighting the palates of those who honored us with their visit.
As for desserts, whether they come from the Creole cuisine, European backing, a few brown hands or the wonderful fruit that grows only in Peru, we can assure you that they are delicious and a couple of months would not be enough to try all them.