As diners continue to seek new flavors, chefs are meeting demand by introducing more ethnic dishes to their menus. Many Latin American cuisines are moving into the food-away-from-home spotlight, but none are currently shining quite as brightly as Peruvian.
Peruvian cuisine is one of the top trending global flavors and one of the National Restaurant Association’s top 20 food trends for 2018. Inspired by the Incans, Europeans, Asians and West Africans, Peruvian dishes could be considered the epitome of fusion cuisine.
Dishes native to Peru often incorporate one of four key ingredients: corn, potatoes, quinoa and beans—all familiar flavors to even the most reserved American diner. That being said, some meals such as cuy—or grilled guinea pig, a delicacy in Peru—would be a better fit for more adventurous palates.
Chefs across the nation are adding Peruvian flair to their dishes in distinctive ways. Four of the operations named in the Nation’s Restaurant News Trending Tables in 2017 had dishes with Peruvian influence on their menus. This included the rustic-chic Latin American restaurant Ronero of Chicago, Illinois, offering a Peruvian-inspired herbal sauce on lamb chops, as well as Jimmy’s Bodega, an oyster bar in Aspen, Colorado, serving up ceviche. Peruvian dishes are also making waves on campus—Duke University of Durham, North Carolina, has featured authentic Peruvian dishes, such as charcoal chicken and marinated beef heart skewers.
There are ways for chefs to add approachable Peruvian flavors to their menu using ingredients they likely already have on hand. Lomo saltado is a popular Peruvian stir-fry, which typically includes strips of marinated meat, vegetables and french fries. By adding a familiar ingredient with a healthy twist such as turkey, chefs can inspire trial and delight among diners. This Pavo (Turkey) Saltado is served sandwich style and packed with the perfect combination of new and familiar tastes.
What’s Hot 2018 Culinary Forecast, National Restaurant Association, December 2017.
Thorn, Bret. Trending Tables: Peruvian food picks up steam, Nation’s Restaurant News, March 2017.
Fitzpatrick, Tara. Menu Mix: Discovering South American staples, Food Management, February 2018.