What to eat in Lima? The Gastronomy of Lima | Lima is the capital of the Republic of Peru for the past 200 years, but the last decade Lima became the gastronomic capital of Peru and South America, the reasons why Lima gained a lot of popularity in this sector have to do with a lot things, for example, the consolidation of the Peruvian identity in the last decades, by rescuing those plants, roots, grains, etc. of Andean origin that were somehow despised during the colonial period, and the beginning of the republican period for religious reasons, for example: the quinoa, the maca, or the potato were not accepted by the Spaniards, Criollos—Spaniards born to America and Mestizos—mix of indigenous, because those plants were never mentioned in the Bible.
But not everything is bad, the first Spaniards who came to Peru also brought their own culinary, and the same thing happened to the Afro slaves, the Italians, the French, the Chinese, the Japanese and other ethnic groups who arrived at Peru in the colonial and republican period.
All this mixture of culinary from different ethnic groups gave the origin to Lima’s culinary, but when did it become so famous? well, apart from the reasons that we already mentioned above, there are many other factors, such us the influence of the chefs, who gave the final touch to make it popular, for example we have Don Pedrito, who was the first chef to start teaching many recipes from Lima’s gastronomy on Television back in the 90’s, we can also mention Mr. Gastón Acurio, owner of many restaurants in Peru and the world, Mr. Virgilio Martínez, who owns La Central restaurant in Lima(one of the 50 best restaurants in the world ), and finally Sensei Humberto Sato, a well-known chef for Nikkey food in Peru; we are sure there are more names, but the ones mentioned above are the most popular Peruvian chefs, at least for now.
- 1. What are the typical dishes of Lima?
- 1.1 Ceviche: a 100% Peruvian dish
- 1.2 Aji de Gallina: It doesn’t look good but it tastes delicious
- 1.3 Causa Rellena: It looks like a dessert but it’s not
- 1.4 Lomo Saltado: Looks like a Chinese dish but it is 100% Peruvian
- 1.5 Carapulcra: A super delicious dish
- 1.6 Pollo a la brasa: A temptation for your palate
- 1.7 Cau Cau: A dish of Afro origin
- 1.8 Anticuchos: A delicacy of afro origin
- 2. Pupular Seafood dishes from Lima:
- 3. Where to eat? Clean, Cheap and Delicious
1. What are the typical dishes of Lima?
1.1 Ceviche: a 100% Peruvian dish
This dish is considered a culinary heritage of Peru, it is made of a magnificent combination of fish, lemon juice, onion and chili; it is served with toasted corn, lettuce and sweet potatoes, despite the few ingredients that it contains; it satisfies even the most demanding palate. If you try Ceviche in Lima, we are sure that you will not regret, not only because of the flavour but also because the fish is fresh.
1.2 Aji de Gallina: It doesn’t look good but it tastes delicious
It is made of chopped and stewed chicken, cheese, milk, boiled egg, peanuts and chili; it is served with steamed rice and parsley.
If you are in the historic center of Lima, there are very good restaurants at a decent price, you can join free tour of Lima, our guide will show you where to eat in Lima clean, delicious, and cheap food.
1.3 Causa Rellena: It looks like a dessert but it’s not
The stuffed Causa dish is very soft and is based on yellow potato paste seasoned with ground chili, onion and celery, it can be stuffed with tuna, avocado or chicken (we recommend combining avocado and chicken).
The dish is served with some parsley, olives and boiled eggs.
1.4 Lomo Saltado: Looks like a Chinese dish but it is 100% Peruvian
Actually, the origin of this dish is Chinese, it was created in the mid-19th century by Chinese immigrants who came to Peru; the dish is prepared in Woks (Chinese pans), however the ingredients are Peruvian.
It is prepared with beef tenderloin cut into pieces, onion, tomato, chili, vinegar, soy sauce and spices; served with french fries and steamed rice.
1.5 Carapulcra: A super delicious dish
The dish is made with some European spices, pork and chicken meat, seasoned with hot chili powder, peanuts, garlic, olives and onion.
It is one of the few Lima dishes that is not served with steamed rice.
1.6 Pollo a la brasa: A temptation for your palate
A modern dish but a very popular one, not only in Lima, but also all over the country; the chicken is seasoned and then roasted on hot coals so that it can acquire the nice color and flavor; this dish is served with some french fries and salad.
1.7 Cau Cau: A dish of Afro origin
It is a delicious typical dish, that involves indigenous, European and African elements; it is made from Mondongo (beef stomach), which is cut into pieces and seasoned with yellow pepper, onion, garlic, parsley, coriander and bay leaves; it is served with some steamed rice.
1.8 Anticuchos: A delicacy of afro origin
The Anticuchos are very popular in Lima gastronomy of African origin mixed with indigenous and European ingredients; the main ingredient is the beef-heart seasoned with garlic and vinegar, the meat is cut into pieces and inserted into the wooden sticks; these skewers are grilled slowly. It is served with hard-boiled potatoes, yuca or hard-boiled freshly harvested corn.
2. Pupular Seafood dishes from Lima:
2.1 Chupe de Camarones
This soup is very well-liked in Lima, prepared with milk, shrimp, rice, potatoes, chili, garlic, red onion, squid, eggs, salt, pepper, oregano and oil.
It is a very tasty soup made of white fish, mussels, octopus, onion, tomato and yellow pepper; this dish is colloquially known as Levanta muertos (raising death people), because it is very energizing soup; therefore, it is good against hangover.
2.3 Tacu Tacu
If you travel to Lima, don’t miss the famous Tacu Tacu; it is made of beans, pork, steamed rice, oil, red onion, garlic, yellow pepper, black pepper, salt and oregano.
2.4 Arroz con mariscos
If you love seafood, don’t miss this dish made from rice in soy sauce, vegetable oil, chopped red onion, garlic, yellow pepper, tomato, oregano, bay leaf, annatto oil, white wine, shrimp, coriander, salt and pepper.
3. Where to eat? Clean, Cheap and Delicious
The city of Lima is a very expensive metropolis, especially the districts of Miraflores, San Isidro and Barranco; finding cheap restaurants is sometimes hard, when you are a tourist in this city.
We suggest visiting the historic center of Lima on your own or by joining a free tour in the historic center of Lima, our walking tour ends very close to the Plaza Mayor; our guide will recommend super cheap restaurants, prices vary in between 10 to 30 Soles—4 to 10 USD.