Peru is the culinary capital of The Americas and has a rich and diverse history of street food that draws influences from various sources. It has the rich natural resources of its land and the sea that borders much of the country. The best Peruvian street food includes include both original recipes as well as variations on Latin American classics. Dishes like ceviche, anticuchos, and picarones are distinctly Peruvian, while the tamales and empanadas you find in Peru will show you the country’s unique take on classic dishes. Peruvian cuisine is an up-and-coming sensation. With dishes such as ceviche and the thrilling taste of Leche de Tigre, the fresh seafood delicacies of Lima will stay on your mind long after you’ve left the country. With so many options, it can be hard to choose the best Peruvian street food to try on a visit to the country. Here is our pick of the best Peruvian street food to try on your vacation!
Anticuchos are made from beef hearts marinated in a seasoning based on chili pepper, garlic, yellow pepper, and vinegar. The beef hearts are then grilled on skewers in front of you. This is probably the most famous Peruvian street food and can be found on every street corner in the country! Some Anticuchos are made of beef or chicken, and they taste delicious whatever the meat is.
You will find Tamales inside a basket or in a cart with wheels, most of them will be warm, and others will be at room temperature. Tamales are a staple that can be found across South America with different flavors and ingredients. The Peruvian tamales are made with Peruvian white or yellow corn. You usually find them in the mornings, as this is when Peruvians generally eat tamales.
This pork sandwich may not look too appetizing at first glance and is made from sliced pork or ham (Jamon Del Pais) and some chopped veggies (tomatoes, onions, chilies, etc.). However, the flavor is top-notch, as the tender ham contrasts with crispy bread buns. If you are staying in Miraflores, you can check out the butifarra stands in The Parque Kennedy for the best street food in Lima, Peru.
You can generally guess what the Salchipapa is all about from the name. Each serving contains sliced, cooked sausage on a layer of French fries. This dish is trendy in Lima, the birthplace of the delicacy; however, this dish can be found throughout Peru. The best accompaniments for this dish are ketchup, hot sauce, and mayonnaise. You can find another variation of Salchipapas called “Choripapas”, which calls for Chorizo instead of regular sausages, which are more prevalent in Chile, America, and Mexico.
Choclo is corn on a buttered and salted cob, served with a thick slice of cheese, and sold on many of the streets in Peru, especially in The Andean region. However, unlike the corn you’ll find in North America, it lacks the sweetness and is a larger version with bigger kernels. If you’re a vegetarian, this is the best option for you here, for most street foods involve types of meat. It is also quite filling, giving you the energy you need to explore the streets.
You might have seen or even tasted Empanadas, a prevalent dish in Latin American nations and worldwide. No one can resist the flavorsome crunchiness of the pastry and the melt-in-your-mouth fillings. Unlike other variations in Spain or nearby Latin American countries, traditional Peruvian-style Empanadas call for hard-boiled eggs, minced meat, olives, and raisins. They are also available in deep-fried and baked forms at numerous street vendors in Peru.
This dish is quite peculiar because, thanks to its shape, it has become a favorite snack. It is a mashed potato dough filled with various stews; the most common are chicken and meat stew; finally, they are fried in abundant oil so that it is crispy on the outside. Many street stalls in Peru offer them ready-to-go, and you can also find them nowadays in restaurants!
Arroz con Leche is the Peruvian version of rice pudding. Brought to Peru by the Spaniards during the colonial period, made with rice, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk. The purple part is concentrated purple corn starch, a hot jam! It is also spiced with cinnamon and cloves and mixed with diced apples and apricots.
The picarón is a must-try street food while you are in Peru. It looks like a donut, yet it is made from pumpkin, and sweet potato mixed into the dough. This is another traditional lovely street food found in shopping malls, parks, corners of famous avenues, and outside churches. And although many restaurants have it on their menu, it is quite an experience to see how the dough is fried and bathed in chancaca (natural sugar) honey. In addition, if you eat it on the street, you can always ask for more chancaca syrup. Perfect for warming up on those cold Andean nights in Cusco!