The Foods of  Peru
All About
Importance of Food
People living in Peru enjoy different kinds of foods depending upon the area of the country where they live. 

All Peruvians consider the food they offer to guests as an important part of their hospitality to visitors.
Important Foods
Potatoes form an important part of meals eaten all over the country. Corn and other vegetables are also common. Cheeses, especially those made from goat milk, and meats including chicken and beef, are often served with rice, potatoes, onions, tomatoes and hot peppers.
On the Coast
Along the coast of the Pacific Ocean, fish and other marine foods like  shrimp, mussels, calamari and octopus become more important. Peru is considered a major fishing country, so many dishes use fish in other regions, too. 
The coastal plains have been developed into farms that are irrigated by the 50 or more rivers that flow into the Pacific from the Andes Mountains. Crops like rice, beans, tomatoes and spicy peppers (aji) have become more important in many Peruvian dishes.
Urban Foods
In the large cities, well-off Peruvians eat meals with a variety of meats, fish, poultry, vegetables and cereals. 
Often rice, potatoes, bread, fruit juices and bottled drinks are eaten with the meal.

Rural Foods
In the mountains or more rural areas, the Native people consume mostly potatoes, beans, corn, squash and soups from barley and wheat.  For meat, llama, salted beef and mutton are the most popular. Guinea pigs (cuy) are raised in most in households similar to how North American farmers might have kept chickens as a source of meat.
In the Rainforest
Inhabitants of the rainforest area, La Selva, have many kinds of fish, small game, fruits and nuts available to them. Hunting and gathering rather than farming have been the most common way to provide food in the Amazon. Animals like tapirs, wild pigs, rabbits, small birds, caiman and monkeys were commonly eaten. Drinks made from tree sap have been important in the diet.

History of Foods in Peru
Over 2500 kinds of potatoes are grown in Peru.

A special delicacy, called cebiche or seviche is considered to be the national dish of Peru. It is made with raw fish marinated in lemon or lime juice together with onion, cilantro or parsley, hot peppers, salt and garlic. This dish began when Peruvian fishermen would use raw diced fish as bait or cebo, the Spanish word for bait. While fishing, the fishermen would add salt and lemon to the cut-up fish and eat them. This quick meal gradually became more popular in other areas.

Cebiche is a well-known Peruvian dish.

Inca Kola is a bright yellow soft drink popular in Peru.

Street vendors can be found in many large cities like Lima. Shish kabobs and tamales made from corn, meat and cheese wrapped in a banana leaf are popular.

One of the oldest ways of preparing food in Peru began about 1500 years ago. It is called Pachamanca which means "food cooked under ground." Different kinds of meat along with vegetables like potatoes and corn are placed at the bottom of a pit lined with leaves and
hot stones and then covered with more leaves. All of this is then covered with more hot stones and earth, and left to cook for up to 12 hours before being opened and eaten.

PACHAMANCA: A Recipe from Peru  
(Click here for source)      

   Ingredients :
    2 legs of lamb
    20 pork chops
    4 chickens
    6 guinea pigs
    20 humitas
    20 potatoes
    20 sweet potatoes
    20 ocas
    Fava beans
    10 corn ears cut in half
    10 green bananas
    2 cups sundried red aji (chili)
    2 punds cheese
    Banana leaves

Dig a hole in the ground where the Pachamanca is going to be prepared.

Make a fire and heat stones. Once they are hot, carefully place a layer of stones at the bottom of the hole.

On top of the stones place the potatoes, sweet potatoes and ocas. Cover with hot stones.

Make another layer of meats seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, and aji (optional: paprika). The most common meats used in the Pachamanca are: lamb, baby goat, pork and chicken. Sage and paico leaves can be scattered on top of the meats for flavor.

Place more hot stones on top of the meat.

Cover all of this with banana leaves, to protect the food from dirt and dust.

Place humitas, fava beans, guinea pigs, cheese chunks, bananas and corn in the next layer. Cover again with banana leaves and a tightly-woven blanket to keep the heat in. Seal the Pachamanca with dry soil.

A cross may be placed on top. This cross will be removed from the Pachamanca by a "godfather" who will start opening it.
Cooking time for the Pachamanca varies from 2 to 13 hours.
       Serves about 20 people.
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