THE PERUVIAN CUISINE: FUSION OF FLAVORS
We live in a time when we can
buy the ingredients for the cuisine of almost every corner of the world. Our children are used to eating with chopsticks and we pepper our conversation with words like mesclun and dim sum. Yet our next culinary adventure is right
in the Western Hemisphere: the discovery of the rich diversity of dishes and ingredients that make up Peruvian cuisine.
When you sit down to a meal in Peru today, you may not know that you are experiencing the result of a
fascinating evolution of foods and cultures. Many Peruvians themselves are only vaguely aware of the unique story of development and adaptation behind the bases of their favorite dishes.
The closest parallel we can draw is
the dramatic way that Asian cooking has influenced North America cuisine in the past 30 years. The reinvention of a nation's eating habits has occurred because new ideas and new ingredients have been introduced into the United
States. Imagine a similar and continuous revolution, one that stretches back hundreds of years, and you'll begin to get a picture of the evolution of Peruvian cooking.
In fact, the thread begins long before Francisco Pizarro
landed in northern Peru with 13 men-at-arms and claimed an empire of 12 million people for the crown of Spain. the basic foods that are represented on the Inca and pre-Inca ceramics in Lima's museums still appear in dishes served
at family tables and in restaurants in Peru today.
(From The Art of Peruvian Cuisine
by Tony Custer)
What The Washington Post says about the Peruvian food
On May 10, 2006, The Washington Post, one of the most prestigious US newspapers,
published an extensive article about the rising popularity of the Peruvian food in the United States. Written by famous food columnist Walter Nicholls, it recounted how Peruvian food has evolved throughout the centuries, from the
ancient Inca Empire and its melange with the Spanish "conquistadores" through successive immigration waves of Chinese, Japanese, European and black people. On top of that, Peru boasts 84 ecosystems out of a 104 that exist
in the world making our ingredients and dishes as varied as the imagination can be.
Although, Peruvian food it is not yet well known in the United States, one of the goals of the Embassy of Peru is to make it as popular as
other world cuisines.This article, along with previous ones and other activities that are being promoted by the Embassy, is helping in this campaign.
To read the complete article, please click on this icon: High on Peru: The Washington Post (May 10, 2006)
One of the finest cuisines in the Americas
Peru boasts one of the finest cuisines in the Americas. Recipes such as cebiche (raw fish marinated in
lemon juice), pachamanca (meat and vegetables cooked underground), chupe de camarones (shrimp soup), ají de gallina (spicy chicken) and juanes (cornmash pastries) are just a few of the mouth-watering dishes served up in Peru. The
quality and variety of dishes in Peru are due to several reasons.
First, Peru's ecological and climactic diversity has given rise to a major supply of fresh produce, which any chef would be ecstatic about. The rich
Peruvian fishing grounds abound in fish and shellfish species, the heart of the succulent coastal gastronomy; rice, fowl and goat, meanwhile, are the key ingredients of Peru's north coastal cooking. In the Andes, meanwhile,
delicious ingredients such as the potato and sweetcorn in all its varieties, plus cuy (guinea pig) and ají chili pepper are the basis of highland cooking and are to be found across the country. The jungle adds its own touch, wild
game with a side serving of fried banana and manioc root. Local fruit varieties such as chirimoya (custard apple) and lucuma produce incomparable deserts.
The second reason is the rich mix of Western and Eastern cultural
traditions. Over the course of centuries, Peru has felt the influence of Spain in stews and soups, Arab sweets and desserts, African contributions to Creole cooking, Italian pastas, Japanese preparations of fish and shellfish and
Chinese culinary methods which have given birth to one of the most popular gastronomic traditions in Peru: chifa. But the originality of Peru's cuisine does not stem just from its traditional cooking -rather, it continues to
incorporate new influences, preparing exquisite and impeccable dishes that have been dubbed the New Peruvian Cuisine. It is a veritable privilege to experience Peru's cooking. Bon appetit.
Should you want to have more information about Peruvian gastronomy in the United States, please contact: Mr. Alejandro Riveros, Minister in the Peruvian Foreign Service at: firstname.lastname@example.org or the Embassy of Peru in Washington, DC.
What the international media says about Peruvian cuisine
Gourmet Magazine - and you thought Paris was the culinary center of the world
CNN - Fusion dining in Lima: Machu Picchu can wait (Oct. 17, 2005)
Travesias - Lima (October 2006)
The Charlotte Observer - A look at Peru's cuisine (Sept. 8, 2006)
The Miami Herald - Casual dining review (Aug. 10, 2006)
El Diario de Nueva York - Comida latina gana adeptos en EE.UU. (May 30, 2006)
The Eagle Tribune - Peruvian cuisine is building a following (August 2, 2006)
The BBC - A country with an eclectic cuisine (July 31, 2006)
Americas Magazine - Peru's revolution in taste (June 2006)
The Mercury News - Lively limon is like a trip to Peru (May 14, 2006)
The New York Times - April 16, 2006
The New York Times - June 5, 2006
USA Today - Flavor of Peru is the heat of the moment and its spicy
cebiche is front and center (April 28, 2006)
The Financial Times - Peruvian cuisine (May 21, 2005)