Peru has emerged as the best culinary destination in South America. Three of its restaurants sit in the prestigious list of the World’s Top 50 Restaurants, including Lima’s Central, which came in 4th and was voted the best restaurant in South America. The creativity of Peruvian chefs is matched by the salivating appeal of traditional dishes like ceviche, aji de gallina and causa. And then there’s the legendary Pisco Sour cocktail, and unusual endemic fruit (lucuma fruit ice-cream anyone?). A culinary tour through Lima takes bucket listers on a guided market tour to showcase the country’s staggering variety of jungle, highlands and coastal ingredients. This is followed by a cooking class with a top chef where you’ll learn to master your own ceviche, causa, and Pisco Sour (shaken, not stirred).
Length of Trip : Half Day
The tour price includes transportation, meals, drinks, entrance tickets, and guide.
It costs US$100 per person, or US$90 if booking for two.
Best time to go : Tours run daily from 9:30am to 2:30pm
Wheelchair friendly : Yes
Family friendly : Yes
Where to eat :
Your market visit will include the opportunity to taste a variety of fruit and vegetables. From there, you'll be taken to your cooking class in a local restaurant, preparing your own traditional lunch of ceviche, causa, washed down with a Pisco Sour (or Inca Cola for the kids). The tour can accommodate vegetarians with prior notice.
You'll need to book ahead to get a table at Central Restaurant, voted the best restaurant in South America. They promise "to offer you the exploration of the diverse Peruvian territory: ingredients, colors, stories and scenarios."
Where to Stay :
When staying in Lima, we recommend the Swissotel Lima.
Getting There :
The tours begins and ends at your hotel, with pick-ups available in Miraflores, San Isidro, Barranco, and downtown Lima.
Note from Robin :
You can get ceviche around the world, but not the way they make it in Peru. Raw fish, shrimp and calamari are drowned in potent lime juice, herbs and spices. The acidity of the lime cooks the fish in a matter of minutes, creating a mouthwatering delicacy served in the finest restaurants to roadside shacks. Served with giant corn, locals sometimes order the leftover juice on its own, which they call "tiger juice."
1. Ceviche: Peruvian ceviche is arguably some of the best in the world. Tender chunks of fresh raw fish are marinated in leche de tigre, a spicy Peruvian chili, lime and onion mixture, and often accompanied with two types of corn (toasted and boiled) and slices of sweet potato.
2. Pisco Sour: A classic Peruvian cocktail made with local pisco (a Muscat-grape brandy) shaken with lime and egg white, and topped with a couple drops of Angostura bitters.
3. Causa: Causa somewhat resemble sushi, with smooth mashed potato as a carefully-shaped base and topped with delicate slices of fish, seafood, egg or vegetables.
4. Lucuma: Lucuma is a Peruvian fruit grown almost exclusively in the Andes. Its unique flavour is used to make various ice creams and desserts.
5. Lomo Saltado: A local staple, lomo saltado is made with sliced beef stir-fried with garlic, cumin, tomato and onion. This is then mixed with French fries, coriander and parsley and accompanied with white rice.
6. Aji de Gallina: This dish consists of thin strips of chicken served with a creamy (and spicy!) yellow sauce made with aji amarillo (yellow chilis), cheese, milk and bread.
7. Cocktail de Algarrobina: Think of this as a pisco eggnog-type cocktail. It’s made with pisco, algarrobina (carob syrup), evaporated milk and egg white, and topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
8. Chicha Morada: A sweet, non-alcoholic Peruvian beverage made by boiling blue/purple corn with pineapple and spices. Consumption of this bright coloured drink dates back even before the Inca Empire.
9. Inca Kola: A soft drink created in Peru in 1935, this sweet, fruity cola is made with lemon verbena, known locally as Hierba Luisa. It has a flavour reminiscent of bubblegum or cream soda.
10. Papa la Huancaina: Peru is known for potatoes – almost 4,000 varieties can be found across the country. This dish consists of boiled and sliced potatoes piled on a bed of lettuce and topped with a slightly spicy cheese sauce.