HISTORY OF PERUVIAN CUISINE
The Peruvian cuisine or Peruvian Gastronomy depends its roots several centuries ago, producing one of the most precious cultural fusions in the contemporary world. The Peruvian cuisine recognized like most kept secrets of the world.
It's known not only for its exquisite taste, but also for its variety and ability to incorporate the influence from different times and cultures.
The culinary history of the Peruvian food dates back to the Incas and pre-Incas with its maize, potatoes and spices that later was influenced by the arrival of the Spanish conquers and different migrations such as Chinese, European, Indian and Japanese immigrants (mainly throughout the 19th century).
Peruvian cuisine combines the flavors of four continents. With the eclectic variety of traditional dishes, the Peruvian culinary arts are in constant evolution, and impossible to list in their entirety. Suffice it to mention that along the Peruvian coast alone there are more than two thousand different types of soups, and that there are more than 250 traditional desserts.
The Peruvian natives had already domesticated some 1000 varieties of potatoes before the Spaniards arrived. Potatoes are probably the main contribution of the Incas to the world and this tuber were fundamental to their diet, Inca cuisine also comprised cereals like Quinua, maize, meats of Alpaca and Cuy (A native guinea pig), fruits, and obviously many kind of hot peppers.
The Peruvian cuisine is an important expression of its own culture just as its ceramics, textiles, music and literature. Thanks to Peru's three regions and ocean there are an abundance variety of fresh ingredients that satisfied not only the most sophisticated chef.
Many Inca dishes have make it practically unchanged to the XXI century, and are cooked just like 500 years ago. The best examples are probably carapulca and pachamanca.
During the Spanish Viceroyalty, which spanned over 3 centuries, the Iberian introduced many culinary techniques and ingredients, such as olives, grapes, dairy products, beef, chicken, and rice. Although native and Spanish cultures -and cuisines- were at first unconnected, they began to gradually mix, until they successively fused in Creole culture. New Criollo cuisine took the better of the two worlds to create dishes like Aji de Gallina or papa a la Huancaina, where hot peppers, cheese and milk gently blend in delicious sauces.
Spanish though didn't come alone. They brought with them African slaves, many of whom worked in the cuisines of the noble and the wealthy. Over the years African influence proved essential to Peruvian culture, particularly regarding music and cuisine. Their talent in creating delightful dishes from poor, discarded ingredients has produced two of Peru's best: Anticuchos and Tacu Tacu.
After independence (1821), a consistent wave of European immigrants arrived in Peru and their cuisines -in particular French and Italian- provided an additional twist to the culinary melting pot.
However, the real gastronomic revolution arrived from the Far East. First were the Chinese, brought during the mid XIX century as cheap labor, mainly for working in cotton and sugar-cane plantations. Chinese fervently conserved their cultural identity and traditions, and when their contracts expired many moved to Lima, establishing in a zone that was eventually dubbed Chinatown. They opened small eating places that captivated to the people of Lima. Chinese, who were mostly from the Canton region, introduced new frying techniques and ingredients like soy or ginger. Peruvian classic Lomo Saltado is possibly where their influence is most evident.
Paradoxically, when Japanese immigrants began to arrive at the turn of the century also to work on plantations, the people of Lima looked down on fish and seafood. Meat, they believed, was more refined. By the 1950s Nisei cooks had eradicated this prejudice. Their restaurants served delightful fish and seafood dishes that few could resist. Indeed, it was their subtle culinary touch to recreate Ceviche and Tiradito as we know them today. Almost unknown until recently the Peruvian cuisine is slowly conquering the most exigent palates of the most renowned worldwide chefs and visitors in Peru. Enjoy our delicious cuisines.
For more information about Peruvian cuisine click on the links mentioned below:
CUISINE OF PERUVIAN CENTRAL COAST
CUISINE OF PERUVIAN NORTHEN COAST
CUISINE OF PERUVIAN ANDES
CUISINE OF PERUVIAN JUNGLE
CUISNE OF AREQUIPA - PERU
DESSERT AND SWEET DISHES OF PERU
PERU SOFT DRINKS
PERU ALCOHOLIC DRINKS
CULTIVATION OF THE ANCIENT PLANTS
PERU GASTRONOMIC FESTIVAL
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