Experiencing the Cusco Cuisine: 7 Unmissable Dishes

A Cusco Restaurant


Cusco cuisine stands out as exceptional within the Peruvian Andes.

As the former capital of the Inca Empire and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cusco boasts several accolades, including being recognized as Peru’s second gastronomy capital.

Oven-baked guinea pig

Known as Cuy al horno, is a traditional Peruvian dish originating from the Cusco region. While popular in Cusco, it's readily available in tourist-oriented restaurants throughout the country. 

Guinea pigs are marinated in a blend of garlic, aji amarillo, cumin, oil, chicha de jora, huacatay, black pepper, and salt for at least an hour before being baked alongside potatoes. 

The dish is typically served with a salsa made from tomatoes, onions, coriander, lemon juice, and salt.

Given its accompaniments, one guinea pig usually serves multiple people.

Fried guinea pig


Known as Cuy Chactado, is one of Peru's oldest traditional dishes, dating back to Incan times.

Guinea pigs are fried until crispy, offering a taste reminiscent of chicken with a slightly fattier flavor. 

Many consider the head the tastiest part. Cuy frito is often enjoyed with hands, accompanied by corn on the cob, rice, potatoes, salsas, and salads, typically served in cuyerías.

Pollo a la brasa

A popular Peruvian dish, features charcoal-grilled chicken renowned for its crispy exterior and juicy interior, traditionally served with French fries and salads. 

Originating in Lima in the 1950s, the chicken is now often marinated in a special blend of ingredients, including vinegar, salt, pepper, rosemary, chili, and dark beer, offering a unique flavor profile

With approximately 27 million Peruvians consuming it daily, Pollo a la brasa is a staple of Peruvian cuisine.

Lomo saltado

Another traditional Peruvian dish, consists of stir-fried slices of sirloin or beef tenderloin, onions, yellow Peruvian chilis, and tomatoes.

Served with French fries and rice, it reflects a fusion of Peruvian and Chinese culinary influences, owing to Chinese immigration in the 19th century. 

Variations include substituting beef with chicken, known as pollo saltado.

Anticuchos

Anticuchos, originating from the Incas, are small skewered and grilled meat pieces, with the most popular variant being anticuchos de corazón, made from beef heart. 

This dish quickly gained popularity across South and Central America.

The first documented recipe dates back to the 16th century, describing marinated llama meat cooked over an open flame. Conquistadors later adapted the dish, substituting beef for llama meat and skewering it on sugar cane stalks.

Chiri Uchu

Chiri Uchu, a traditional dish from Peru's Cusco region, traces its origins back to the time of the Incas and holds particular significance during the Inti Raymi (Festival of the Sun) and Corpus Christi celebrations. Its name, meaning "cold spicy" in Quechua, reflects its characteristic as a cold dish with a spicy flavor profile.

This dish features a diverse array of ingredients such as guinea pig, chicken, charqui (dried meat), roasted corn, boiled potatoes, and rocoto peppers, representing the region's ecological diversity. 

Typically, these ingredients are layered or served together on a plate, often accompanied by a spicy rocoto pepper sauce.

Peruvian Stuffed Peppers (Rocoto Relleno)

Rocoto relleno, a renowned appetizer from Peru, consists of oven-baked rocoto chili peppers filled with a mixture of ground beef, onions, and hard-boiled eggs. 

The stuffing is seasoned with traditional spices like cumin, chili paste, salt, and ground pepper. 

Often, rocoto relleno is served with melted queso fresh cheese atop the stuffing, providing a burst of flavor. This appetizer is commonly accompanied by baked potatoes or various salads.

An extraordinary experience in the cuisine awaits for all the visitors in Cusco!

Let us know if you wish to know where you can get to try these delicious dishes.

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