Lima is one of the culinary capitals of the world–amazing restaurants and chefs–and with the rise of Peruvian cuisine, Lima has been getting a lot of attention lately. From a foodie perspective, I wanted to concentrate on 3 things in Lima: Ceviche, Pollo a la Brasas, and Nikkei Cuisine. These were the three best things that I would be able to eat in Lima, while I focused on the more local cuisine in Cusco. (For a primer on the cuisine, and the dishes to try here, take a look at our Cusco guide.)
Pollo a la Brasas – the is the dish that has exported the most around the world with the Peruvian tag. A roasted chicken with spices. Simple, but delicious.
Ceviche – this is one of the, if not the, most popular dish for many tourists and local alike. Ceviche has also evolved over the past few years from a dish that was fish cooked in acid for an extended amount of time, to one (potentially from Japanese influence) that is fresh seafood only briefly cooked in acid. A small but tremendous different. Along with the acid, of typically lime/lemon juice, peppers and onions add flavor dimensions to the fish. I waited over a month in Peru to eat this dish at a city, like Lima, that had access to fresh seafood–the way ceviche is supposed to be made.
The two below options will serve as the best representation of preparation styles as well as ingredients.
Try Ceviche at the Market – El Cevichana, Mixed Ceviche
Try Ceviche at a Restaurant – La Picanteria, Ask them for the best option
Nikkei Cuisine – Nikkei is the beautiful love child of Japanese and Peruvian cuisine born from Japanese immigrants traveling to Peru and taking hold of the local ingredients: peppers, potatoes, and much more. As a fan of Japanese cuisine, I was very excited to experience this melding of flavors–and had to make a big decision: firstly, could my budget afford a high-end restaurant, and second, if so, would it be either Maido or Central. I chose Maido and didn’t regret the experience at all.
Try at Maido, Tasting Menu if you can during which not only will your taste buds have a great time, but you will get to taste a third ceviche while in Lima.
- La Lucha – I visited this chain in Arequipa, and I can say without a doubt that the Chicharron sandwich was one of the best sandwiches I have ever had
- Central – currently considered the number one restaurant in South America and in the Top 5 of the world, Chef Virgilio take us on an exploration of different Peruvian ecosystems through his tasting menu. Unfortunately, this place wasn’t on the budget for me.