"Peru's cuisine is probably the best kept food secret in South America. A bounty of Pacific seafood, a fiendish enthusiasm for chiles and a confluence of Latino, Native- American and even Japanese and Chinese influences make for a remarkable virtuosity"
- Food & Wine magazine
The first known cuisine of Peru was that of the Incas, who used the natural resources of their far-flung empire. Their foods were based on corn, onions, the grain quinoa (pronounced "keen-wa") and the potato. The Incas were the first people to cultivate the potato and among the first to use the chili pepper, and those items were in almost every meal.
They ate less meat than modern Peruvians, favoring seafood, duck and other game birds, and they also raised a small hamster-like herbivore known as cuy. For a beverage they made chicha, a mildly alcoholic sweet corn beer flavored with native fruits. (The chicha at Inca Gourmet is a non-alcoholic version., and is more like a fruit punch.)
The coming of the Conquistadores changed everything, bringing new foodstuffs such as wheat, rice, chicken, beef, tomatoes, cilantro, pork, and lamb. Milk and cheese also entered the Peruvian diet for the first time; the only large domestic animal of the Incas was the llama, which gives only enough milk to nurse its young.
New waves of immigration in the 1800s added still more to the Peruvian diet. Chinese railroad workers of the 1840s brought the techniques of stir-frying and making noodles, and eventually developed their own Peruvian/Chinese fusion cuisine known as Chifa. Japanese rice farmers followed a decade later, as did a wave of Italians in the 1880s, and each contributed culinary ideas that became part of the Peruvian mainstream.
Peru is a country of vastly-differing climactic zones, ranging from the mild Mediterranean climate of the coastline to the cold, dry peaks of the Andes mountains, with a substantial area of Amazonian jungle in the eastern part of the country. As one might expect, this leads to interesting regional variations. At Inca Gourmet we serve the most cosmopolitan and varied cuisine, known as criolla, from the city of Lima.
On weekends we offer extra specialties. Also daily selections of Chifa, the Peruvian-style Chinese food that is popular in Lima. Whichever items you select, we are sure you will enjoy the authentic Peruvian experience.