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Food & Drink

Peruvian Cuisine: Five Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know

Words by Chef Diego Sanchez

Chef Diego Sanchez of LIMA Dubai, who has worked under Chef Virgilio Martinez, Chief Proprietor of both Lima and Central, Peru — ranked the sixth best restaurant in the world in 2018 — tells us what we need to know about how and why Peruvian food tastes so darn delicious.

Peruvian cuisine offers some of the most varied and flavoursome dishes you can expect to enjoy on a plate. Owing to its eclectic influences, derivations and colonial history, Peruvian food is high on the list of any foodie. But there are a few details that might escape you about the South American food.

1. Peruvian cuisine has the greatest number of external influences from other countries.

Japanese, Chinese, African, Mediterranean, European: the list goes on. Thanks to its storied colonial and multicultural history, Peruvian food has an abundance of flavours cooked into its fare.

2. Peru grows over 4,000 varieties of potato.

You might not think you need over 4,000 potatoes. And you’d be correct to think so. About 30 per cent of them are actually edible. But all of them are used in Peruvian cuisine: they love a potato.

3. Ceviche comes from Peru.

Yes, ceviche was conceived in Peru. As such it is part of the national heritage of the country. The chunks of raw fish are marinated in freshly squeezed citrus — lime or orange — so the acids of the fruit coagulate (a fancy way of “cooking”) the proteins in the raw fish to give it a zingy, not-so-raw texture on the palate. It’s a culinary beauty and it originates from the Moche — a coastal people that emerged and prospered in what is current-day northern Peru, roughly 2,000 years ago.

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LIMA Dubai LIMA Dubai serves up some of the finest Peruvian fare in the emirate.

4. Peru has 90 different microclimates.

That includes 30 of the world’s 32 climates, making it one of the most diverse countries in the world in microclimates. It fosters three main regions — coastal, mountainous and jungle, which in turn form subtropical climates, highland climates and an equatorial climate

5. Peruvians use flowers and medicinal leaves in their cooking.

We all know that South America’s reputation for using certain herbs and leaves in every day life is strictly on the up and up. But the cultural roots and heritage of the Peruvian people using flowers for medicinal purposes is an ancient and healthy one.

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