10 Peruvian Foods You Need To Be Ordering Right Now

It's not just about the ceviche.

Nestled along the west side of South America, Peru is making some of the best food in the world. The country, made up of the impressive Andes mountains as well as a fairly long coast line, is on most people’s radar for one reason: their beloved seafood-based ceviche.

But ceviche is not the only dish Peru does well. In fact, Peru is a culinary treasure trove that you deserve to know about. Publications have began noting Lima’s importance on the global dining scene, but we think the depth of Peruvian cuisine goes way beyond the capital’s restaurants.

Here’s why.

No one sauces chicken like Peruvians.
We're talking about aji de gallina, the beloved dish that's a cross between chicken with sauce and a chicken stew. The dish consists of shredded chicken with a sweet and spicy sauce made with the pepper "aji amarillo." The dish is served with white rice, hard boiled egg and sometimes black olives. One bite of this dish, and all other chicken dishes will automatically feel inferior.Try this Aji de Gallina recipe
The peppers are everything.
Aji amarillo is basically the soul of Peruvian cuisine. It’s a small yellow pepper that offers some serious heat. It is the backbone to many of the sauces found in Peru. You can often find this pepper in the freezer section of international markets. It is also available online in paste form. And then there’s rocoto (pictured above). Rocoto is a red pepper that although small, is deceptively hot and packed full of flavor. It is revered in Peru. This pepper is a little harder to find than aji amarillo, but it is well worth seeking out. When you do spot some frozen ones, stock up. And if you can’t find it, opt for the paste. It’s better than doing without
Peruvians don't waste any part of the cow.
One of Peru's most popular street foods is heart. We're talking beef heart -- on a skewer, and grilled. This dish is known as anticuchos. Some say the practice of eating cow's heart dates back to the days when Spanish conquerers left the parts of the meat they didn’t want to their slaves. While the idea of eating cow heart might turn off some outsiders, the bold flavor can easily convert skeptics. Just remember, the heart is a muscle like all the other cuts of meat we eat. If you can locate the meat, try this Anticucho recipe.
Hands down, Peru makes the best roast chicken.
Some say the secret is marinating the chicken in soy sauce flavored with red pepper, cumin and garlic. Others say that the secret is really about the creamy green sauce served on the side. All we know is that it’s addictive, which explains why Peruvian chicken restaurants have been popping up around the globe. If you aren’t lucky enough to have a Peruvian chicken place near you,try this chicken a la brasa recipe.
The Chinese culinary tradition in Peru, known as chifa, is fierce.
Chinese immigrants moved to Peru in the mid to late 19th century and created Chifa -- Chinese food with a Peruvian twist. Chifa is considered just as classic Peruvian as food from the Andeans. Some of the most beloved dishes are lomo saltado (stir-fry beef with veggies and french fries) and chaufa, a fried rice.
The stuffed peppers in Peru come with a side of fire.
These stuffed peppers -- rocoto rellenos -- are not made with your average bell peppers. They're made with rocoto, one of Peru's favorite fiery peppers. Rocoto is about 10 times hotter than a jalapeño. That heat is simmered down when baked in the oven -- but not completely. The dish is made with ground beef, egg and a layer of cheese that melts gorgeously onto the rocoto. Try this rocoto relleno recipe
Peruvians gave us the Pisco Sour.
Boulder Locavore
This tart and sweet cocktail is made with egg whites ― that’s what gives it that great white, frothy head ― and Pisco, which is a common liquor in Peru (and Chile) made from grapes. Try this Pisco Sour recipe
Peru has a potato dish that rivals even the best mashed potatoes.
Peru is home to 3,800 different types of potatoes. So, obviously they know how to cook with these tubers. One of the best potato dishes in Peru ― and possibly the world, is papas a la huancaina. This dish is made with boiled potatoes topped with a spicy aji amarillo sauce. It’s often served with a hard-boiled egg, and on a bed of lettuce. Folks, it might sound simple, but it will overwhelm you with goodness. Get your hands on some aji amarillo (peppers necessary to make this dish), then try this papas a la huancaina recipe.
The Ceviche
Even people who know nothing about Peruvian food will often know ceviche. That's because this dish that's made with fresh fish, marinated in citrus juice, served with sweet potatoes, Peruvian corn (fresh and roasted) and raw onions is enjoyed across the globe. And there's a clear reason why: it's absolutely delicious. It's also the heart and soul of Peruvian food.Many Peruvians only eat ceviche for lunch, because by the evening the fish is already considered less fresh, but you can enjoy it any time of day. The best part is, it's pretty easy to make at home. Try this ceviche recipe, it'll be the best thing you do all month.
They don’t just eat their ceviche, they drink it, too.
Or rather, the juices that are used to marinate (and cook) the fish. We’re talking about leche de tigre or tiger's milk ― that’s what those marinating juices (made of mainly citrus, garlic, pepper and cilantro) are called ― and it’s also the reason that ceviche tastes so dang good. Peruvians know this, and they sometimes drink it from a glass. Some people believe its the perfect hangover cure, others think its an aphrodisiac -- whatever your reason for throwing some back, you can count on it to be great.

Now, go find those peppers and get cooking!