Peruvian food is one of the most enduring memories of a Peru vacation, which comes as little surprise given the astonishing range of flavors and ingredients to be found in the country’s long and well established culinary traditions.
Peruvian food is the very definition of fusion cooking, mixing influences as diverse as Spain and Europe, Afro-Caribbean and Creole, plus the wide range of local traditions, including a costal love affair with fish and seafood, the hearty potato and corn dishes of the highlands and the steamy tropical traditions of the jungle.
Aji de Gallina, a classic Peruvian dish of chicken in a rich yellow chile sauce.
Lima’s best 3 market spots
It is in Lima where all these influences converge into one great gastronomic melting pot, and the food markets of Peru’s capital are the most exciting places to begin your exploration into one of the world’s best culinary cultures. Here are just a few of the less-visited and more authentic food markets which will make a rewarding few hours during your stay in Lima.
1. Festival Gastronomia
All day every Sunday, Plaza Municipal, Barranco
A small but busy and highly atmospheric food market that starts early but only really picks up after dark, Barranco’s Festival Gastronomia is a typical market that draws a local crowd. Each stall offers their own unique range of dishes, including all the most popular Peruvian treats, plus a mouth-watering range of Peruvian desserts.
Helpfully, each stall has a display of their specialties, meaning you can easily choose the dish that takes your fancy, even if you don’t know its name. The market has a cash desk, signed Caja, purchase your food tickets in advance and exchange them at a stall for your chosen dish.
Highlight: freshly prepared lomo saltado, a delicious dish of pan fried beef strips, tomatoes and onions, served on top of fresh papas fritas (thick French fries). 10 Soles ($3.50).
2. Mercado Surquillo
Daily, Avenida Paseo de la Republica, Surquillo
In the suburb of Surquillo, a short taxi ride from Miraflores, is Mercado Surquillo, a bustling, authentic and HUGE food market, to which locals flock for the best quality food at great, low prices. The range of fresh Peruvian fruits and vegetables will have you baffled, but the stall holders are friendly and helpful and will happily explain what everything is, and how they are prepared, but be sure to polish up on your Spanish phrasebook first!
Highlight: marveling at the enormous range of fish and seafood on offer before heading upstairs for some freshly prepared ceviche, perhaps Peru’s most famous dish of sliced fish marinated and cooked in a juice of limes and chilies, served with juicy corn and large slices of sweet potato. 10 soles.
3. Bio Feria, organic food market
Every Saturday from 8am, Parque Reducto, Miraflores
Organic ingredients are a fast growing phenomenon in food-loving Lima and the place to catch the best ingredients is the Bio Feria organic market in the pleasant surroundings of Parque Reducto. The market boasts everything from breads and coffee to freshly prepared meals, all vegetarian and delicious!
Highlight: Vegetarian enrollados (tortilla wraps) prepared on the spot with fresh organic vegetables from the market and tasty fried vegetarian “gardenburger”. All wrapped in a wholesome tortilla and topped off with 5 different homemade sauces. 8 soles.
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Matt left England for Peru in 2008, originally planning to stay for just 12 months but ending up settling down in Lima working for Latin America For Less for three fun-packed years. He remains a perpetual traveller, working and writing his way through Europe, North America and Asia but he has always saved a special place in his heart for Peru and South America.