Peruvian food: is quite delicious, and has a bit of oriental flare to it. They use a lot of natural herbs and spices to flavor the food and a lot of it is corn and potato based, after all Peru did domesticate these two staple foods.
Peruvian drinks: two unique drinks I tried were:
Chi Cha: a corn based non-alcoholic beverage, it has a purple color and is very sweet and refreshing
Pisco: a Peruvian brandy, made from Peruvian grapes, there are 4 types, the type I had a shot of was the aromatic kind, it was very aromatic and very smooth to drink and it did not burn as much as whiskey or normal brandy, and the after taste was that of a very ripe and sweet grape, so it was quite an enjoyable shot. But the alcohol content is quite high at 42%.
Some highlights and famous dishes: Ceviche or Cebiche, Guinea Pig (which is very tasty I might add), Lomo Soltado (stir fried beef), Pollo a la Brasa (grilled chicken), Causa (potato based dish), Alpaca (cousin of Llama), lots of freshwater fish from the glacier lakes and rivers.
I basically tried nearly all of their famous dishes and ingredients minus the pollo a la brasa, but there are plenty of large chain stores that sell them.
The most interesting and foreign dish was the roasted Guinea Pig or Cuy, it was crunchy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside, it pretty much tasted like a cross between a well roasted chicken and a nicely done German pork knuckle.
But the highlight of the many meals we had in Peru was by far a restaurant in Cuzco, tucked away in a small museum in a small plaza next to the Hotel Monasterio called MAP Cafe. You may be thinking as we did, cafe? What could possibly be magical about eating at a cafe, its simply sandwiches and a cup of coffee or tea. But this cafe is no ordinary cafe, in fact it can put many restaurants in New York City to shame, yup its that good.
Walking into the museum you expect the MAP Cafe to be a small dingy little cafe much like that of the MET in NYC, but no in the middle of the courtyard of the colonial palace turned museum there was a box made of glass and steel, here was where the main dining room was housed. There were a few umbrellas and tables for outdoor dining and the kitchen and bathroom were separate inside the colonial palace itself. We were already in shock by the exterior of the restaurant that we did not know what to think anymore.
It was nice and toasty inside the glass box and the waitresses and waiters were attentive and well versed in the menu. The menu itself was so detailed that I actually cannot really remember much of it, but I did snap photos of it. It was a three course meal coasting at around $60 per person, with bread and a chef’d compliment.
The presentation of each dish was like looking at a piece of sculpture, it was almost too pretty to touch, the taste was just as amazing as the presentation. Each dish with just the right amount of seasoning and flavor.
One of the more memorable dishes was the dessert which I ordered. It was a sauteed pear filled with arroz con leche and surrounded with arroz con leche and purple corn topped off with green apple sherbet and a piece of fried apple. It was delicious and was not too sweet.
Next time you travel to Peru, and are in Cuzco make sure you book a table at the MAP Cafe, dont hesitate, just do it, it is worth it!