6 Peruvian Dishes You May Not Know, But Should

Question: When's the last time you went out for Peruvian food? That's what we thought. This tasty South American fare may not be as widely available as say, Italian or Mexican, but we'd venture to guess that there's a cozy BYOB restaurant tucked away in your city somewhere — perhaps you've already found it.
While it's fun to try a cuisine you don't eat on a regular basis, sometimes navigating the menu can be a bit confusing. So, if "chupe" means nothing to you, you're not alone. To help you out (and maybe, even impress a dining companion), we've got six gorgeous snaps of Peruvian dishes you need to know. If you happen to live in Chicago, you can try them out at the brand-new restaurant Tanta in River North (just check out these amazing Yelp reviews!). Sorry, it's not BYO — but you can get a mean pisco punch.
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Photographed by Anjali Pinto.
Anticuchos de Corazon
Yep, that's quite a mouthful to pronounce, but this tasty dish consists of grilled skewers that are actually popular street food offerings in Peru. They can be made with a variety of ingredients such as octopus (pulpo), chicken breast or thighs (pollo), veggies, or virtually anything else you can spear with a stick!

This version is served over huacatay (an herb indigenous to the Andes region) with Peruvian corn and topped with chimichurri sauce.
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Photographed by Anjali Pinto.
Tiraditos Criollo
Ready for a brief history lesson? Many Japanese immigrated to Peru at the end of the 19th century with the dream of finding gold and striking it rich (some things never change). The Japanese brought food from back home, which created a new blended cuisine now referred to as Nikei. One of these dishes is tiraditos, or Peruvian-style sashimi — talk about modern-day fusion!

There are several varieties of this dish at Tanta. This one is the tiraditos criollo, which is made with the fresh catch of the day, aji amarillo (yellow Peruvian pepper), lime, and ginger.
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Photographed by Anjali Pinto.
Causita
Love mashed potatoes? Then you've got to try causa (or causita, in the diminutive). This dish (basically potatoes whipped with lime, aji chili, and spices) has been enjoyed by those in the Andean region for centuries and variations tend to change family by family — but is always eaten at room temperature.

Tanta offers a causita tasting with six types, some of which are topped with ahi tuna, octopus, egg, and escabeche.
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Photographed by Anjali Pinto.
Chupe
Nothing like a bowl of chupe to warm your inners on a crisp fall day! Chupe is a generic term used in South America for a variety of stew generally made with chicken, red meat, lamb, or beef tripe — or with fish, shrimp, crayfish or shellfish, and vegetables, potatoes, or yuca. In other words, it's definitely a stick-to-your-ribs kinda meal.

Tanta’s version is more on the traditional side, complete with potatoes, head-on prawns, and aji panca, a Peruvian red pepper.
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Photographed by Anjali Pinto.
Jalea
Jalea is simply a lightly breaded fish that serves as a staple on any Peruvian menu. Tanta spins its dish as the Peruvian version of fish and chips, adding fried plantains (the chips), yuca, avocado salsa, and cebiche sauce.
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Photographed by Anjali Pinto.
Los Picarones
There's always room for dessert — especially when it's a fried Peruvian-style doughnut made from squash and sweet potatoes. Dip one of these babies in some syrup (made from a solidified molasses called chancaca) and you'll transport yourself back to this dessert's colonial origins.
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