The Rise of Peruvian Cuisine

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

foods of peru

By Valentine Reed-Johnson, RD, CDN, Contributing Blogger

Peruvian food may just be the next big thing. Peru has a diverse and electric cuisine, including citrus ceviche that bursts in your mouth, seafood that falls apart on the fork, and Chinese sweet and sour sauce surprises. To learn more about this cuisine, and find out how to order the most nutritious options on the Peruvian menu, I spoke with Manuel Villacorta MS, RD the creator of “Whole Body Reboot,” a weight loss app focused on superfoods from Peru.

Peruvian cuisine has soared in popularity.  According to Manuel, the rise in Thai style cuisine in the 1990’s paved the way for city dwellers to be more willing and open to try new foods and refine their pallet. Now food lovers are falling for Peruvian-style cuisine.

The diversity behind Peruvian cuisine originates from the late 1800’s-early 1900’s where workers of Chinese and Japanese descent were shipped to Peru to help with agriculture and infrastructure. There are also African, French, Spanish, and Italian influences on the culture and food of Peru from other periods in history. The foods of these many cultures became intertwined with Peruvian dishes. This is why there are dishes such as branzino in a sweet and sour Chinese-inspired sauce offered on the Peruvian menu!

In terms of health, Peru is filled with a variety of nutrient-filled foods. Produce from the Andes Mountains, away from the big cities, is home to some of the most magical superfoods, which are incorporated into the refined city cuisine. The whole ingredients make this cuisine pop up on the health radar. The most common of these superfoods found in restaurants are quinoa, purple potatoes, cilantro, pichuberries, lucuma, and camu camu. All of the superfoods and their nutritional benefits are listed on Manuel’s website.

What is a really special Peruvian dish that people should order? Arroz con pollo was the first dish Manuel learned how to make. It is a chicken and rice dish with a cilantro sauce and colorful vegetables. This dish further emphasizes the focus on whole ingredients, full of color and freshness.

Peruvian foods are becoming more and more accessible, and they are available year round, due to the mild climate in Peru. This makes Peruvian cuisine accessible to home cooks around the world– so you too can create a colorful Peruvian plate!

Valentine is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, currently working at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. At the hospital she covers general medicine floors. Eventually, Valentine hopes to open up a private practice along side her hospital position. Valentine believes in providing practical nutrition knowledge, encouraging others to think logically when it comes to their health. Follow Valentine on Twitter: or visit her website.

 

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