There are three things famous in Peru: the spectacular landscape, the beautiful women and Peruvian food, the Seafood! One of the most mouth watering cuisines of Latin America, Peruvian cuisine with seafood has its own distinctive flavor.
Famous for its exquisite taste, Peruvian Cuisine has several varieties that will tickle your taste buds the Peruvian cuisine has its roots in continental/Spanish cuisine, which has been changed to taste differently by using various indigenous South American ingredients. This is a cuisine that is not your everyday food; the Peruvian cuisine is exotic food with some of the recipes passed down from one generation to another.
Considered to be the first fusion food, Peruvian cuisine with seafood has been influenced by cuisines from almost 4 continents of the world and more specifically from Africa and Asia. Some of the important influences in Peruvian cuisine include Basque, Spanish, African, Japanese, Sino-Cantonese, and Italian. The Peruvian cuisine is different in different places, for example: near the coastal areas, the influence is Chinese, African and native while in places like Trujillo and Lima, the influence is an eclectic mix of Japanese, Chinese, African and European.
The Peruvian cuisine can be dated back to the time of the Incas and the period before that. The cuisine didn’t change when the Spanish arrived; it just became better especially because of the use of different ingredients. Even in the pre-Hispanic era, fishing was considered to be an important source for food and almost 1/3rd of the Peruvians around the coastal areas were fishermen.
Today, the Peruvian seafood cuisine is considered as one of the finest cuisines of the world. One of the dishes that you can start of with is Ceviche or Cebiche, which is usually prepared with lemon, peppers, onion, cilantro and garlic and of course at the center of it is white fish like the sea bass. In some parts of Peru, you will find a different variety of “Ceviche de camarones”, one where shellfish, shrimps, or palm hearts are used. This is a distinctive Peruvian seafood cuisine and the fish used for preparing it is never cooked in heat but in lime juice.
There are plenty of Peruvian cuisine with seafood and one of the popular and mouth watering seafood is the Choros a la Chalaca also known as Callao-style Mussles. This cuisine belongs to the port city of Callao and consists mainly of fresh mussels that are first steamed then chilled and later-on is served on the half-shell. The real taste comes from the fact that they are covered in a spicy and tangy sauce like the salsa. The Choros a la Chalaca is prepared using different ingredients like tomato, chopped onion, peppers, cilantro, corn, and garlic and all of them are mixed in lime juice.
The third most popular Peruvian cuisine with seafood on the menu includes Picante de Camarones also known as Spicy Shrimp Chowder. Some of the best places to taste Peruvian Cuisine are in Miraflores, Surco, San Isidro, and Barranco in Lima. Some of the top restaurants include Restaurant Huaca Pucllana, Pescados Capitales, Astrid & Gastón, Rafael, and Dalmacia among many others. Peruvian cuisine with seafood is so scrumptious that you need to actually taste it to feel the flavors!
The Ceviche, regularly spelled “cebiche” in Peru, is the flagship dish of coastal cuisine, and one of Peru’s favorite’s flavors. It is the ideal of fusion: Andean chili peppers, onions and acidic aromatic lime, of a species imported by the Spanish, though with origins in Northern Africa (“limon” in Spanish language). A highly spiced dish, it consists generally of bite-size pieces of white fish (such as corvina or white sea bass), marinated raw in lime or lemon juice mixed with chilies. Ceviche is served with raw onions, boiled sweet potatoes (camote), toasted corn (cancha), and occasionally a local green seaweed yuyo. Leche de tigre (tiger’s milk), is the Peruvian informal name for the juice formed from the ingredients of Ceviche. It has a light spicy flavor and serves as an excellent reconstituent. Local custom recommends ceviche as a breakfast for sleepwalkers, a hangover cure and as an aphrodisiac. Different ceviche from Mexico and Ecuador, it does not have tomatoes, and unlike that of Tahiti it does not use coconut milk, though both are abundant in Peru. A variation offered in Callao replaces mango for fish.
Tiradito, the younger brother of ceviche, and shows more clearly the influence that Japanese cooks have had in Peru’s seafood cuisine. The fish is sliced in fine strips that are similar to sashimi, and then marinated in a mix of lime juice, ginger and ají limo. Unlike ceviche, Tiradito lacks onions, which translates into a subtler taste.
Cebiche de Conchas Negras (ceviche with black shells) is a dish of Piura and Tumbes is also popular along the southern coast of Ecuador due to Peruvian influence. In this adaptation of ceviche, the seafood used in the dish should be black clams accompanied toasted corn.
Chupe de pescado or fish cioppino is popular in Lima and along the coast. Shambar, Chinguirito, Pez Guitarra too.