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1. Papa a la Huancaína
The dish Normally served at large family gatherings, this dish of boiled tomasa potatoes originated in Central Peru’s Huancayo province. The mild potatoes are covered in huancaína sauce made with aji, an Andean chili pepper, queso fresco, oil, garlic, salt and milk until the mixture is thick and rich. The cold dish is served on a bed of lettuce and garnished with boiled eggs and olives.

Huaca PucllanaHuaca Pucllana

Where to try it In the upscale district of Miraflores, Lima, Huaca Pucllana uses crunchy yucca root spirals instead of potatoes for its version of the dish. If the authenticity of this dish is at all compromised, your table’s view of a floodlit pre-Incan pyramid more than makes up for it.

2. Causa Limeña

Peru's traditional Causa LimeñaPeru's traditional Causa Limeña

The dish Don’t be fooled by the elegant layers of mashed amarilla potato and lettuce; causa limeña is the food of war. During the 1879 War of the Pacific, women in Lima asked their fellow citizens to donate food to raise money for the troops. They received lots of potatoes, corn, peas and carrots. From those ingredients, the dish was born and sold on the streets of Lima in support of the cause. Papa tarmeña, a light golden potato, can also be used for a creamier, fluffier consistency.

Where to try it At the newly renovated Palacio Nazarenas, which was once a colonial-era convent, executive chef Virgilio Martinez makes regular trips deep into the Andes to seek out rare and tasty tubers. For his version of causa limeña, he uses a native potato called huamantanga instead of the traditional yellow potato, adding the wild herbs muña, huacatay and paico along with pine mushrooms native to the high Andes.

3. Papa Rellena

The dish To make this dish, a ball of mashed papa canchan (pink potato) is stuffed with ground meat and spices before being deep-fried until crispy golden brown. Papa negra (black potato) can also be used. Much like its viniferous cousin, the pinot noir grape, the papa negra’s skin is dark, but its flesh is pale.

Where to try it Pachapapa in Cuzco is a tuber lover’s paradise, famous for preparing all manner of traditional Peruvian potato dishes, including papa rellena and papa huancaína, with a spicy creamy peanut sauce. Before being deep-fried to a golden brown, Pachapapa’s version of papa rellena is stuffed with chopped beef, carrots, sweet peas, black olives, boiled eggs and raisins. Try it with the roast guinea pig if you’re game.

4. Chuño

Traditional ChuñoTraditional Chuño, a freeze-dried potato product, is popular in Peru and Bolivia. 

The dish Borrowing a technique developed by the pre-Incan Quechua and Aymara people of the Andes, small potatoes are laid on flat ground and left overnight to freeze in the dry high-altitude air. The next morning, they are crushed, their skin is removed and the process is repeated until all of the water has evaporated. Chuño can be stored for years and turned into a variety of mashed potato dishes.

Where to try it Astrid y Gastón, a Lima hot spot, is famous for its inventive takes on old favourites. (Think Andean tubers with shredded almonds and mustard sauce.) Chuño makes an appearance in many guises, and you’ll likely have it more than once if you opt for the 11-course tasting menu. Try it as herbed mashed potatoes served alongside lobster, foam and capers.

5. Picarones
The dish This colonial-era dessert is inspired by the Spanish buñuelo, a type of fried dough ball. In the Peruvian version, sweet potatoes and pumpkins are boiled in anise water and mashed to create a sticky batter. They are then shaped into hoops, deep-fried and drizzled with honey. Look for them in October at religious festivals like El Señor de los Milagros (proof that picarones are heaven sent) and at dusk on the street corners of Cuzco.

Where to try it Most picanterías tend to be on the outskirts of Cuzco to serve the workers heading home. In the historic centre, take a detour to nearby Picantería Ruinas. Just follow your nose to the corner of Calle Ruinas and Choquechaca.



Getting There

Air Canada offers the only nonstop service from Toronto to Lima, Peru.

Comments… or add another

Maria Foster

Monday, April 8th 2013 15:21
Great article on Peruvian food!

Lucia fernandez

Monday, April 8th 2013 15:49
I love peruvian food! It is for me one of the best cuisines un the world!

Edward Parsons

Monday, April 8th 2013 17:13
This is an amazing display of potatoes in a way that I would never have though possible. The other dishes can only be describes as very appealing with a cultural flair to them.


Monday, April 8th 2013 17:55
It is great to read true a real things about Peruvian dishes like PPa a la Huancayina and Causa a la Limeña. For sure, I encourage every one to try them, you all will love these dishes. I know why I say it. And.. Buen rovecho(enjoy it).

David Macdonald

Monday, April 8th 2013 18:22
On a visit to Peru a few years ago my wife and I had dinner one night at Huaca Pucllana in Lima. It was one of the best meals we had in Peru, with ultra fresh ingredients. The views over the illuminated ancient pyramid made for a magical experience.

pat welch

Monday, April 8th 2013 19:51
Brings back lots of memories. Born in La Oroya, Peru, 1934 (15,000 ft above sea level). Have eaten all of these dishes.

Ana Bonechi

Monday, April 8th 2013 19:53
Very interesting information, I did not know the names of potatoes. I love all Peruvian dishes specially papa huancaina, causa limena, papa rellena, picarones chuno etc.
Good work, thank you.


Tuesday, April 9th 2013 00:11
Great article and this is only the tip of the iceberg! what about Olluquitos(small hardy variety) and Carapulcra (sun dried potatoes)to name a few of the delicious dishes made from potatoes. I makes me proud of my peruvian heritage! time for a trip!


Tuesday, April 9th 2013 00:21
Great Article! As Peruvian residents in Canada, we were thrilled when a dear friend shared it with us. We live in Calgary, and since last year are very lucky to have 2 great Peruvian restaurants in town : Inti and Pio ( and ), where we can taste and enjoy not only the traditional potato dishes described here but also a good display of other Peruvian delicacies. We have even thought of preparing our own chuño, taking advantage of the freezing and dry nights in Alberta!
Wanted to share also a link to the International Potato Centre ( ) with HQ in Lima, Peru, "as a root and tuber research-for-development institution delivering sustainable solutions to the pressing world problems of hunger, poverty, and the degradation of natural resources." You will find very interesting information on their efforts, state-of-the-art facilities and research regarding potato, sweet potato and other less known Andean roots and tubers. Another good reason to visit Peru and enjoy its many wonders.

Nelly Dierickx

Tuesday, April 9th 2013 10:40
What a mouthwatering experience. Just like Pat Welch I was also born in la Oroya, Peru (1956)
Love Peruvian food ; this article gives credit
to the potato, which is amazing, but there is so
much more!!!!


Tuesday, April 9th 2013 20:18
I live in Lima, and have given up on trying all of the great restaurants, since there are thousands of them.

It is more interesting to look for a bad restaurant, of which there are very few... lol


Wednesday, April 10th 2013 13:22
Peruvian food is the best around the world, try it and you will love in love with this food.
Great Note and thanks for share!

cristina cavero

Sunday, April 14th 2013 10:57
I am very proud to read about our famous paruvian dishes .Peru is such a nice place to visit,for both, food and history!!!!!!
Thank you for writing about my beautiful Peru.


Thursday, April 25th 2013 10:20
I live in Peru so it is a joy for me to see the amazing food highlighted by the airline that files me here, from Canada.


Monday, March 3rd 2014 17:02
I will be going to Peru for 10 days in June and I am very much looking forward to having my taste buds tingled and to enjoy all the sights, counts and colours. Any recommendations of things to look out for at that time of year.
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