In 2016, Peru was designated as the best country in the world for gastronomy. This honor was bestowed by The World Travel Awards (WTA) or the “Oscars” of tourism for the 5th year in a row. This means that Peru edged out other world renowned cuisines such as French, Japanese, Italian, Mexican, Spanish, Thai, among others.

On your travels in Peru, be prepared to enjoy some of the most unique and diverse cuisines in the world. The rich biodiversity, the Inca heritage and the mix of immigrant cultures have all influenced the food. Peru certainly deserves its title as a top gastronomic destination. Here are 5 local dishes you don’t want to miss.

#1 – Ceviche

A trip to Peru would not be complete without trying ceviche. It is considered Lima’s dish of the city or Peru’s favorite dish. It even has its own holiday which was created by the Peruvian government. National Ceviche Day is celebrated every June 28th.

Ceviche is essentially a raw dish that consists of fish soaked in citrus juices like lime and spiced with chili peppers. There are just 5 ingredients in the national dish of Peru: raw fish, salt red onions and ají, Peru’s unique line of chili peppers, all doused in lime juice. The acidity of the lime ‘cooks’ the fish and makes it firm and opaque. The marinade is called leche de tigre (tiger’s milk). The ceviche is accompanied with camote (sweet potatoes) and choclo (large, white Andean corn), which are both native to Peru.

Choose between Ceviche Pescado (thinly cut slices of fish) or Ceviche Mixto (mix of fish, squid, octopus and scallops). Be sure to have it at lunch time or early in the day when the fish is the most fresh.

mix of fish, squid, octopus and scallops
Photo: Authentic Food Quest