By Laura Aviles, Staff Writer
There is a one-week food fair that brings together more than 450,000 people from different parts of the world to taste the traditional dishes from every region. At the fair is a farmer that sowed and harvested potatoes, corn, and yucca and who now can export his produce to different parts of the world. There was once a chef with a food truck there who converted this little business into one of the country’s most famous and in-demand restaurants. There is an entire nation with a millennial culture that has fallen in love with its food and which finds in it a principal reason to have pride in their country. That place is called Peru, and its food has become one of the most recognized cuisines in the world.
The gastronomy boom in Peru is based in the ancient customs of each of its regions, mixed with the additions of immigrants, and then elevated by a number of recognized Peruvian chefs who took the lead in familiarizing the world with Novoandina cuisine.
The native ingredients, which come from various ecosystems, and the combination of flavors from each region have contributed to form the long list of more than 400 traditional Peruvian dishes. At the same time, the influence of Spanish cuisine, introduced during the colonial period, combined with the flavors of the African, Italian, Chinese, and Japanese immigrants have come together to form a unique fusion of flavors.
The gastronomic boom was a process that began ten years ago with the support of some Peruvian chefs who rediscovered native ingredients and traditional dishes which had been lost to time. One of these chefs is Gaston Acurio, who first contributed by communicating through his culinary television program the rise and fusion of regional and traditional Peruvian food and then by participating in the creation and organization of the first International Food Fairs, called Mistura.
Peruvian cuisine has won many awards. In 2015, the country was recognized by the World Travel Awards as one of the best culinary destinations for the fourth consecutive year. This award was made possible because of the efforts of entrepreneur-chefs and the support of the government to spread the “brand” of Peruvian cuisine.
Furthermore, a study by Universidad de Lima has found that 95% of Peruvians are proud to be born in Peru due to its gastronomy and the renown that it has achieved beyond the country’s borders.
There are more than 400 traditional dishes made in Peru. The following is a list of four of the most renowned:
Ceviche: A spicy dish made of bite-sized pieces of white fish (such as Corvina or white sea bass), marinated in lime juice and garnished with onions, sweet potatoes, and corn.
Lomo Saltado: Pork tenderloin sautéed with french fries, red onions, and tomato. Accompanied with white rice. Salt and black pepper are also added to taste.
Ají de gallina: Chicken served with a creamy and spicy yellow sauce, made with ají Amarillo (yellow chilis), cheese, milk, and bread.
Pachamanca: Made from a variety of meats (including pork and beef), herbs, and a variety of vegetables that are slowly cooked underground on a bed of heated stones. Because of its tedious preparation, it is normally only made for celebrations or festivals in the Andes, and in many restaurants in rural areas outside Lima.
Are you hungry? The food fair called “Mistura” will take placed from the 8th to 11th of September in Lima, Peru. To get more information, visit the following website.
Are you still in Arizona? There is a Peruvian restaurant only about 20 minutes from the campus called El Chullo Peruvian Restaurant. If you go there, don’t forget to order one of the traditional drinks named Pisco Sour. Cheers!