Five reasons why Peruvian Cuisine is so unique

The Peruvian cuisine is incredibly distinct from any other as it is a pure reflection of the rich culture of the nation compressed into a variety of amazing dishes. The fresh ingredients and spices used in the Peruvian cuisine are guaranteed to cause a burst of flavors you have not experience before.  This is one of the reasons Somos Peru Restaurant is a top favorite amongst Latin American and Peruvian food lovers in the city of The Hague, Netherlands.

Before we dive in the top 5 reasons why Peruvian cuisine is so unique we would like to share with you some history and information about Peru. Peru has a rich history in ancient civilization. The most known Peruvian ancient empires were the Incas, which was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America and was ruled from the city of Cuzco. Before the Incas  there was already a rich history of ancient civilizations. The Incas were the last civilization that originated from of the  Andean civilizations, which existed for thousands of years.

Besides the rich history of ancient Peruvian civilizations, Peru is also famous for 
the breathtaking landscapes that will amaze you. One you must have heard of is the “Machu Picchu”, which means “Old Mountain” in ancient Inca Quechua language. This mountain is a favorite between travelers around the world. The Machu Picchu mountain is just one in many landscapes in Peru, other popular landscapes are the Vinicunca Mountain (also known as the Rainbow Mountain), The Colca Canyon, Salinas de Maras, The Andes Mountain, The Moray Ruins and many more.

Peru also has one of the most amazing biodiversity in the world. This makes is possible for Peru  to host over 1800 types of species. In Peru you will definitely encounter animals you have never seen before.
 One of these animals you might have seen on the internet, the now world famous Llamas. Llamas are loved and catch the attention of every tourists.
Now that you have more information about Peru lets dive into the 5 reasons why the Peruvian cuisine is considered one of the greatest treasures of Peru! 

1. Spices like no other

Peru is native to some of the most distinctive, savory, adaptable and delicious spices, more than 50 varieties of peppers are used in the Peruvian cuisine.  The Peruvian “Aji Amarillo” belongs to one of the most important ingredients in the Peruvian cuisine.  Here at Somos Peru Restaurant we use it for the classic Peruvian dishes like the Causa Rellena, Papa A La Huancaina, Leche de Tigre and the Ceviche of course.  From  the Aji Amarillo we also make delicious  Aji Amarillo paste, this adds a remarkable flavor that leaves a lasting impression on the taste buds. Other spices that ar ekey the the Peruvian cuisne are: Cumin, Huacatay Mint,Oregano, Tumeric, Black Pepper Garlic and Coriander.

2. They gave the world some of its most-loved staple foods.

Peruaans aardappelgerecht bij Somos Peru Restaurant in Den Haag
Peruaans aardappelgerecht bij Somos Peru Restaurant in Den Haag

Peru is the place of origin to some of the world’s most popular and cherished staple foods. The most common Peruvian staple foods are corn, potatoes, legumes, and flowering plants that produce super foods like quinoa. These foods have become indispensable culinary items world over and all these foods share a common agrarian ancestor: Peru.

Corn and potatoes are enjoyed by the locals in different types and shapes. These staple foods  provide delicious, nutritious, quick and easy to prepare meals and snacks all around Peru. Take for example the Cancha, a very popular snack  made from a type of corn called “ Maiz Chulpe”. The corn nuts are toasted and enjoyed as a snack or a side dish.

From another type of maiz, called “ Maiz Morado”, which literally translates to “Purple Corn/Maiz” a very delicious and refreshing drink is made: “ The Chicha Morada”. The Chicha Morada is a beverage that originated in the Andean regions of Peru but is popular nation-wide and belongs to the most loved drinks by Peruvians.

The Quinoa has become one of the most popular superfoods in the world, and is considered as one of the healthiest foods in contemporary times with a seemingly unending list of health benefits which has made Quinoa a very demanded food.

There is an intimate relationship between Peru’s landscape and the cuisine.

Peruaans aardappelgerecht bij Somos Peru Restaurant in Den Haag
Peruaans aardappelgerecht bij Somos Peru Restaurant in Den Haag

Peru’s landscape can be delineated into three distinct ecological zones, which greatly influences the culinary habits of its inhabitants. The seaside has as its culinary hallmark seafood delicacies involving the use of different species of fish, oysters, and shrimps. The ceviche is the standout meal of this region and by extension a national gourmet food. It involves curing fresh seafood in a broth of lemon or lime, Onions, and Peppers.

The highlands and mountainous part of Peru pride itself in its mastery of spicy meat in the form of guinea pig (Cuy). This is usually set over an open fire and is laden with assorted spices and seasoning. Potatoes and Maize also feature prominently on the menu list of locals in this region. Pachamanca, a traditional delicacy with meat and vegetables made with the aid of heated stones placed underneath the earth underlines this region’s topographical and culinary interplay.

The rainforest perhaps retains the most unique and diverse food ensemble with Juanes, a combo of rice and fish in leaves and parriladas de la selva, barbecued meat in Brazil nut sauce, as the stand out meals.

  • Combination of external influence to provide great cuisines

Peruvian Cuisine has been greatly influenced by other cultures and traditions. Animals such as Goats and Cow were introduced to Peruvian cuisine by the Spanish who also brought fruits such as apples as well as other vegetables such as onions and garlic to Peru. African influence was consequential to the slave trade, which saw the Spanish shipping African slaves to Peru. Tacu tacu, which is made from beans and rice with spices such as pepper and garlic highlights this confluence of African and Peruvian cuisine.

The Chinese brought rice and their unique cooking methods to Peru. The Chifa refers to these combinations of Peruvian recipes and Chinese modes of preparation. The Japanese, on the other hand, has greatly influenced the preparation of seafood with Tiradito, a Japanese styled meal of fish in a spicy sauce.

  • Exotic Drinks

The world and bar famous Pisco Sour Cocktail are whipped up from egg white, lime juice, Pisco, and sugar syrup. It is an incredibly refreshing alcoholic beverage with an unaged yet tangy, frothy taste and widespread appeal which transcends the geographical outline of Peru.

Another staple drink is the Inka cola which is the Peruvian version of a cola beverage and still retains its place as the nation’s premier non-alcoholic beverage, even with the presence of other internationally famous brands. Furthermore, we can’t ignore the Chicha morrada; which is a simple drink made from Peruvian purple corn. Bartenders have found ingenious ways to tweak the flavors and taste of these drinks to critical acclaim.

There is no doubt that Peru possesses the world’s most endowed and eclectic cuisine with its wide range of indigenous spicy, delicious and palatable meals which elicit a most enthralling culinary experience.

The uniqueness of the flavors and tastes of these meals underlines the special relationship that exists between the ecological, social, and culinary factors that bear down and influence the Palate of Peru and that of the world. If you’re in Netherlands, you can try some of the best Peruvian meals at Somos Peru in the Hague.

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