The Top Five Foods to Try When in Lima, Peru
(by Vincent)

Lima, Peru

A melting pot of Asian, Andean, and European cultures, Peru's capitol city features a culinary landscape unlike any other.  It is easy to eat your way through this city--the food is as diverse as it is delicious and from street vendors to Gaston Acurio's famous restaurants, there is great food to be found at every price point.  Here are the top five foods to try when you're there.

1)  Ceviche

The Peruvian coast supports one of the most abundant and bountiful sources of fish in the entire world thanks to the icy Humboldt Current, which flows north from Antarctica up along the coasts of Chile and Peru.  This impressive supply of fish means that Lima is home to some of the world's best seafood.

When it comes to seafood, ceviche is a staple.  It is the quintessential dish of Lima and a definite highlight of Peruvian cuisine.  Ceviche is essentially raw fish marinated in citrus juice and spiced with aji or chili peppers, however there are numerous different variations.  In today's vibrant culinary scene, Peruvian chefs are constantly inventing new, unique takes on this classic dish.

2)  Sushi

The art of Sushi s alive and well in Peru's capital.  Surprisingly, the city once saw a huge influx of immigrants from Japan and today it is home to a vibrant Japanese-Peruvian community.  This, in conjunction with a high-quality, readily available fresh catch, makes Lima one of the best cities in the world for Sushi.

3)  Causa A La Limena

Peruvian cuisine has an obsession with potatoes.  And with good reason---the country is home to roughly 3,800 of the 5,000 potato varieties worldwide.  With 3, 800 potato varieties, how could you not be a potato aficionado?

The Andes are actually the birthplace of the potato.  Scientific evidence suggests that they were first domesticated in the southwest of the country, near Lake Titicaca, around 10,000 years ago.  And in the past 10,000 years Peruvians have certainly developed a wide array of delicious uses for la papa, as the potato is called in Spanish.  Causa, an Andean dish with a long history, is one of the country's most notable potato dishes.

Lima has its own specific style of causa, known as causa a la limena.  It consists of mashed yellow potato molded, chilled, and stuffed.  The specifics of the stuffing vary according to recipe, though it typically includes hard-boiled egg, cheese, olive, and some kind of meat or fish, often tuna or chicken.  As a finishing touch it is coated in fresh squeezed lime juice and topped with lettuce.

4)  Lucuma

A fruit grown in the Peruvian Andes, Lucama's unique taste is hard to describe, though many compare the flavor to butterscotch or maple syrup.  It can be eaten plain, though it is commonly used to make desserts.  When mixed with chocolate, the result is heavenly.

5)  Anticuchos

Anticuchos are skewers of marinated meat that are essentially a Peruvian version of a shish kebab.  Though they can technically be made from any kind of meat, traditionally, anticuchos are made from beef heart.  It might sound barbaric, but anticuchos are undeniably delicious, especially if you're a meat lover.

Although not listed in the top five foods to try, Quinoa soup (seen above) s a hardy staple food, full of the protein of quinoa seeds which have had the bitter covering removed.  It was a major part of the diet of pre-Columbian Andean culture and today is used like barley or is gluten free and considered easy to digest, plus it's a good source of dietary fiber, calcium and is great for vegans who are lactose intolerant. It makes a hearty start to a Peruvian meal. 

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