Peru continues to shine on the world culinary stage.
The annual “World’s 50 Best Restaurants” awards were announced last week and placed three Peruvian restaurants in the top 50, an increase from two restaurants in 2014.
Lima’s Central Restaurant moved up into the top five (in fourth place) and was again awarded the best restaurant in South America. Lima’s Astrid y Gaston also moved up from #18 to #14 and list newcomer Maido joined the group at #44. The annual list is compiled from the votes of 27 regional panels, each with 36 members who represent a mix of critics, chefs, and other industry professionals.
Beyond visiting Lima and taste-testing these three restaurants, there are also numerous unique Peruvian dishes visitors should try during a visit to the country.
Top 10 Peruvian Food and Drinks to Try:
- Ceviche: Peruvian ceviche is arguably the best in the world. Tender chunks of fresh raw fish are marinated in leche de tigre, a spicy Peruvian chili, lime and onion mixture, and often accompanied with two types of corn (toasted and boiled) and slices of sweet potato.
- Pisco Sour: A classic Peruvian cocktail made with local pisco (a Muscat-grape brandy) shaken with lime and egg white, and topped with a couple drops of Angostura bitters.
- Causa: Causa somewhat resemble sushi, with smooth mashed potato as a carefully shaped base and topped with delicate slices of fish, seafood, egg or vegetables.
- Lucuma: Lucuma is a Peruvian fruit grown almost exclusively in the Andes. Its unique flavour is used to make various ice creams and desserts.
- Lomo Saltado: A local staple, lomo saltado is made with sliced beef stir-fried with garlic, cumin, tomato and onion. This is then mixed with French fries, coriander and parsley and accompanied with white rice.
- Aji de Gallina: This dish consists of thin strips of chicken served with a creamy (and spicy!) yellow sauce made with aji amarillo (yellow chilis), cheese, milk and bread.
- Cocktail de Algarrobina: Think of this as a pisco eggnog-type cocktail. It’s made with pisco, algarrobina (carob syrup), evaporated milk and egg white, and topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
- Chicha Morada: A sweet, non-alcoholic Peruvian beverage made by boiling blue/purple corn with pineapple and spices. Consumption of this bright-coloured drink dates back even before the Inca Empire.
- Inca Kola: A soft drink created in Peru in 1935, this sweet, fruity cola is made with lemon verbena, known locally as Hierba Luisa. It has a flavour reminiscent of bubblegum or cream soda.
- Papa la Huancaina: Peru is known for potatoes – almost 4,000 varieties can be found across the country. This dish consists of boiled and sliced potatoes piled on a bed of lettuce and topped with a slightly spicy cheese sauce.