Over the past ten years or so, Peruvian cuisine has become somewhat trendy among culinary experts. But I think that most people find that hard to understand. For those of us who have visited Peru, it makes all the sense in the world.
Let’s begin with the raw materials. The humboldt current off the coast makes Peru one of the world’s great fisheries, with everything from seabass and swordfish to oysters, octopus, and lobster. We have never had a seafood dish in Peru that was not sensational. The ceviches are beyond compare.
And we think that the avocados in Peru are the most delicious in the world. Yucca, pineapple, mango, papaya, corn, quinoa, rice, cocoa…the list of locally grown products is lengthy. And we haven’t even mentioned the more than 600 kinds of potatoes, each with its own shape, color, texture and flavor.
That’s what’s cooking. Who’s cooking it?
The culture of Peru is a true melting pot. Of course you have the indigenous peoples of the country, Inka and others, and the Spanish who arrived in the 1500’s with their own recipes. But there is also a strong African community here, adding spice and character to the food. And remember that one of the recent presidents was Fujimori–yes, Japanese food is an influence, And in China, they teach that one of the great traditional cuisines of China is Chifa–the local Chinese cuisine of Peru.
Add all those influences to the pot and you’ve got quite a stew–a delicious smorgasbord of flavors and ingredients that never seem to get old. What fun!