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September 26, 2022 6 min read

Peru is a country filled with marvellous places, and one of the most known places all over the world is Machu Picchu. This touristic spot not only has great historic significance, but it’s the birthplace of many amazing recipes that are part of Peruvian gastronomy.

If you want to find out more about whyMachu Picchu is so important, which ingredients come from that area and which amazing recipes you can prepare that come from there, keep reading. 

What makes Machu Picchu important

First off, it’s important to get to know a little bit aboutMachu Picchu to understand it’s relevance not only in Peruvian history but also in Peruvian gastronomy.Machu Picchu is an Inca citadel from pre columbian era built by emperors to live among the mountains.

However, the place was emptied after the Spanish conquest and remained hidden. Located in the middle of the mountains of the Eastern Cordillera of Perú, in the region of Cusco,Machu Picchu was once a location of great importance for its ancient cultures, but people didn’t know of its existence until found many, many years later. 

As being the top of the mountain region of the country,Machu Picchu brings to local gastronomy some of the most crucial ingredients, many of them only found in this area. As you can see, the importance of this place is not only historical but also for theirfood


Food you can find in Machu Picchu 

It was discovered by archaeologists that the civilisation that occupied Machu Picchu had developed an elaborate farming system with huge parcels along the city. This farming system was built to take advantage of the constant and strong rains that happen in this region, and they even designed a drainage system for the extra water to be used correctly. 

One of the ingredients grown inMachu Picchu and the whole region of Cusco is corn (also known as choclo) in its many types: yellow, white, purple, red, black, giant, etc. Corn is a crucial part of Peruvianfood, being the base of many dishes and recipes, whether sweet or salty. 

Another ingredient grown heavily inMachu Picchu is the potato, in several sizes and types. Potatoes are also afood you can find in many, many dishes all over Peru. 

Typical recipes from Machu Picchu

A very important factor that shapes the way people eat in the region of Machu Picchu-Cusco is the weather and the height. These make people eat in a certain way and have at hand some ingredients that may be not so common in regions like coastal Peru. With that in mind, here are some traditional recipes you can enjoy there. 

Timpo soup

Soups and broths are very common in the region of Cusco, they’re perfect for the cold mountain weather. Timpo soup is made with lambs head, bacon, cabbage, moraya potato, rice, yucas and even peaches to give it a sweet touch. 


Another great soup that you can enjoy if you visitMachu Picchu is Saralawa, a creamy soup made with corn, lima beans, huacatay sauce and a mixture of typical herbs such as dry chili, cilantro and parsley. Saralawa soup is perfect to fill your tank and resist cold weather. 

Olluquito con Charqui 

Olluquito is a tuber, an exotic mix of a potato and a jicama grown in the Andean zone of Peru. Olluquito is the main ingredient for this amazing dish that also includes charqui, which is dry llama meat (in a special technique practiced by the Incas) and it’s served with rice. Click  here to learn the full recipe for Olluquito con Charqui


Another amazing recipe prepared commonly inMachu Picchu and the Cusco region, humitas are the perfect combination of hot and filling. Thisfood is considered a dessert, kind of like a tamale made with corn and sugar. 

Some of the most famous meals from Peru come from Machu Picchu-Cusco region. Now you know almost all of the ingredients are probably already in your pantry or very easy to get, so if you’re curious about how this incredible recipes taste and you feel like trying the best of Peruvian food, check out our recipes and get to the kitchen!

Peruvian Food You Can't Miss on Your Machu Picchu Trip

There's plenty to be excited about when you think of the Machu Picchu trip, and obviously, much of it is related to the ruins themselves. But, a trip to the ruins of Machu Picchu doesn't take place in an encapsulated bubble.

It is also traveling across South America and a trip to Peru specifically. It's a fantastic trip in itself. There are many aspects to consider when planning your visit in the direction of Machu Picchu will be an experience of cultural immersion, and among the many easily accessible and enjoyable aspects of Peruvian culture is Peruvian food!

Peruvian food is rich in tradition and has been influenced from across the globe. Besides the indigenous culture's considerable influence, Peruvian food includes many aspects of Spanish, Chinese, and West African cuisines, among other things. However, enough of the talk! Let's glance.


1. Ceviche

Sometimes, it's referred to in the form of "cebiche" within Peru (the "v" or "b" sounds are identical in Spanish). This seafood dish is a staple in Peru and then gained popularity across most regions of South as well as Central America.

While it's most well-known in coastal areas of the country due to apparent reasons, you're bound to see ceviche throughout any region of Peru you're looking at, and we strongly recommend it!

The traditional Peruvian recipe starts with raw, uncooked fish, typically Corvina, also known as sea bass, that is then marinated in freshly squeezed citrus or bitter oranges, which is basically "cooking" this fish in its acidity. Next, mix in chili, onions, peppers, and spices, and serve it with portions of sweet potatoes or corncob to make an entire meal!

While it's not the prettiest appearance of Peruvian food, ceviche is a delicious and essential part of Peruvian cuisine. It is so loved so much that it is a national holiday. You can't afford to skip it. 

2. Lomo Saltado

Do you remember when we talked about Chifa - which is Peruvian Chinese food - in a different blog? This dish is a relic from the chifa culture, but it's also fair to think it may have outgrown it.

Lomo saltado is made up of cooked slices of beef, usually sirloin, and tomatoes, onions, peppers, parsley, and onions in a tasty stir fry. The dish is served over white rice and fries of potatoes that have been fried.

The mix of Chinese elements, such as the rice and soy sauce used in the marinade, along with traditional Peruvian ingredients, makes this a fascinating introduction to the Peruvian food tradition.

3. Cuy Asado

This dish isn't for the uneasy, especially for people from regions where guinea pigs are often kept as pets instead of being raised as food. Cuy is the local Spanish term for guinea pig, and within the Peruvian highlands, it's quite a popular dish.

Guinea Pigs have domesticated in present-day Peru more than 3,000 years ago with the express intention of eating their meat. Instead, they're a staple food that can be imagined as chickens from Peru.

Peruvian highlands. Cuy Asado, specifically, is a roasted guinea pig, and it's usually taken off its spit and then served as a whole. While it's tempting to say that guinea pig also "tastes similar to the taste of chicken," the truth is that it does not make sense.

This authentic Peruvian cuisine tastes gamier, in the lines of rabbits or certain wild birds, such as pheasants.

4. Ají de Gallina

Another tasty Peruvian food item, the aji de gallina, can be described as a delicious and rich chicken stew. The broth is laced with traditionally-cooked Peruvian chili pepper, which is yellow, which gives the dish its distinct yellow hue.

Beyond the peppers, the soup typically includes condensed milk and is thickened by white bread cut off from its crust. Include boiled potato, black olives, and a hard-boiled egg, and you'll have a tasty dish.

There are many variations of the recipe. Some include walnuts, too, but they're more often used in "upscale" versions as opposed to traditional recipes of the dish because adding walnuts can be costly for some Peruvians.

Whatever way you choose to eat it, eating aji de gallina is a delicious and classic Peruvian dish not to be missed while in Peru!

5. Inca Kola

While it's not technically a dish and certainly not considered a food item, we could not resist wrapping up the list by mentioning Peru's widely consumed drink of choice: Inca Kola! The soft drink is known for its distinctive flavor because of the flowering plant's main ingredient, the lemon verbena. It's sometimes compared with the flavor of bubblegum.

However, that's not quite the case. You have to taste it and find out. It's a valid emblem symbol of Peru; Inca Kola surpasses Coca-Cola in its home country, which is a fantastic achievement. While it's not considered a "Peruvian dish," we still think it's the perfect way to end our list.