Peruvian cuisine is a fusion of world cultures: Incan, Spanish and Chinese, among others. What should kids look forward to in this country’s diverse history of food?
If they like french fries, chicken and cookies, the answer is a lot!
Authentic Peruvian cuisine shares common ingredients with American fare. Corn, potatoes, beans, wheat and meats are all everyday parts of the country’s diet. Peru has over 4,000 native varieties of potatoes – mashed, roasted or fried, something exists for even the most discerning french fry lovers.
If you’re planning a trip to Peru, here are some dishes you can expect to run into that the kids will love. If you’re especially excited, most of them are easy to make at home!
This Peruvian take on stir fry features some American classics: french fries and beef. Traditionally, it includes peppers, tomatoes and onions over white rice. It’s a saucy, hearty dish that originated as part of the chifa tradition – the local cuisine’s fusion with Chinese food – though it has become a mainstay of Peruvian diets everywhere.
A cuarto (one fourth) serving of pollo a la brasa, accompanied with french fries and a fresh salad.
Pollo a la brasa is something your kids are probably familiar with: rotisserie chicken. It’s a common Peruvian dish, usually eaten with a fork and knife. The chicken is marinated with salt and almost always served with creamy, mayonnaise-based sauces and a salsa known as aji. The fries are usually served with homemade ranch, too. It’s a familiar American meal with some saucy twists!
Picarones are the Peruvian take on doughnuts. They’re thinner than American doughnuts and don’t have any glaze or filling. However, they’re made of Incan ingredients, like sweet potatoes and anise, then drizzled in a super-sweet honey-like syrup made from solidified molasses. Kids will love the crunch of the dough and the syrupy sauce.
These flaky, shortbread type cookies have manjar blanco (usually milk-based candy) inside and are covered in powdered sugar, glazed sugar, grated coconut or chocolate. While every South American country does them differently, traditional alfajores in Peru consist of two round, sweet biscuits made of wheat or corn starch. Sweet, crunchy and chocolatey – it’s everything a kid wants in a cookie!