Located in South America on the Pacific Coast lies a country named Peru, which offers one of the world’s greatest cuisines. The country of Peru is exquisitely diverse with geography containing the Andes Mountains and highlands, the tropical/Amazon Basin and the coast. All of which contribute significantly to the Peruvian cuisine. Peruvian cuisine is a unique blending of Andean and Spanish cultures over 500 years, mixed with Japanese, Chinese, African, Arab, and other influences (Cayo, 33). With the cuisine being a fusion of many different cultures, it retains unique elements of each and creates a distinct cuisine of its own making it unmatched in its diversity and individuality. The best part of Peruvian cuisine is the similarities in the cuisine over the last several hundreds of years.
Peruvian cuisine has evolved from both local and immigrant traditions. The cuisines main influences have been the indigenous Incan peoples, the Spanish conquistadors and African slaves that were brought in by the Spanish. In addition, a large influx of Italian, Chinese, and Japanese immigrants brought new flavours in the 19th century. “From the native Quechua and Aymara peoples to Europeans, Africans, and Asians, the unique ethnic makeup of Peru has resulted in a wide variety of cultural and culinary traditions that are all recognized as inherently ‘Peruvian,’” ("History of and Variation in Peruvian Cuisine").
The cuisine of Peru is a combination between traditional Amerindian cooking and the cuisine of the Spanish conquistadors that came into the country in the 16th century. Maize, beans, and potatoes were the standard ingredients of the pre-Columbian cooking in Peru. These three staples remain an integral part of Peruvian cuisine and were expanded along with the introduction of Spanish core foods like rice, wheat, and meat.
The diverse geography of Peru creates an abundance of ingredients. As Lorson discusses, the local cuisines found around the entire country rely on the environment and the geographic location of each. The influences and style of Peruvian cooking can be divided into three main culinary/climatic regions of Peru which include, the Andes Mountains and highlands, the Tropical / Amazon Basin and the Coast. Indigenous to the Andes Mountains region is the potato, and the region features a wide array of potato and sweet potato varieties. In fact, in Peru you can find more than 3,800 varieties of potatoes. Corn was a staple of Andean cuisine. Peruvians presently continue to enjoy both the chicha morada, a drink made from purple corn, and chicha de jora, a fermented corn beer. The ancient Incan peoples came up with interesting preparation and preservation methods. Chunos, or dried potatoes, remain a staple and charqui, or jerky, is one of the few Andean foods that have been adopted around the world. The Incan influence remains strong in Peru.
The cuisine of the Peruvian Tropical / Amazon Basin is quite different from the rest of the areas of the...