Food & Cuisine in Arequipa
Peruvians eat much more than roasted guinea pig although that is considered a delicacy. Almost every major cuisine is represented in Arequipa. Restaurants with fine dining options are available in plenty. Arequipa's well heeled go to the top-end brasseries that line Calle Santa Catalina and around San Francisco square. Enjoy Arequipa Restaurants.
The world-class chocolate in Arequipa is a decadence that you must indulge. Be sure to visit one of our excellent gourmet restaurants in Arequipa.
Our Arequipa Restaurant Guide is a handy source of information for all you need to know about eating out in Arequipa. Familiarise yourself with the local cuisine in Arequipa before heading out to one of the many fabulous restaurants in Arequipa to try it for yourself! Check out our Arequipa Shopping Guide for some great gift and souvenir ideas and our Peru Restaurant Guide recommends some great food ideas to look out for as you travel Peru. also, check out our guide to transportation Arequipa.
Food & Cuisine in Arequipa
The cuisine of Arequipa is one of the most diverse and fine tasting in all of Peru. It is famous all over Latin America and indeed the rest of the world for its typical picanterías, where large and filling meals are served. Meals here are made with fresh traditional ingredients and cooked over willow wood. The kitchens are rustic and generally made of adobe, which keeps them warm for a long time. The smoke from the willow adds its own flavour.
At one time, picanterías would be marked by red flags positioned on their doors, a practice that has now become obsolete. Traditional picanterías have now been modernised and turned into regular restaurants. Nevertheless there are still a few picanterías operating in Arequipa's districts of Tiabaya, Sachaca, Sabandia, Yarabamba, Characato and Mollebaya.
There are a large number of dishes on offer in Arequipa restaurants but the must-tries among the chupes (soups), entrees, desserts and beverages are cebiche, shrimp, cauchi cheese, chicharones, cuy, ocopa, chica de jora, and the ever-popular shrimp soup. Do try the stews, which bear the unique flavour of the Arequipeñan cuisine at its best.
Arequipa has its very own beer that is one of the best in Peru and an anisette liqueur that resembles ouzo. You can also buy good quality chocolates, toffees and bonbons (masapáns) from here.
Even with such elaborate dishes on offer, eating in Arequipa need not be an expensive affair as there are several small cafés and restaurants in Arequipa that serve cheap pizzas, pastries and sandwiches. For those who wish to avoid eating out in Arequipa, there are well-stocked grocery shops near La Merced. If you wish to stick to familiar flavours and ingredients, international chains are a safe bet. Chifas and pollerías are outlets that serve Chinese and chicken dishes respectively. Their service is excellent too.
The chocolates in Arequipa match the finest in the world. The chocolates are dark and smooth and have an incredible variety of fillings. Chocolatiers can be found all over Arequipa and Peru. Be sure buy a box before you leave.
What to eat?
Enjoy the local food Arequipa. To experience the true taste of the White City, you must find your way to one of the so-called picanterias (traditional restaurants where they cook over open flame). A good table begins with a Soltero a salad of fresh cheese, lima beans, onions, olives, tomatoes, and rocoto. Ocopa boiled potatoes covered with a fresh cheese sauce, lima beans, onions, olives, and rocoto. Escribano potato salad, with rocoto, vinegar, oil, tomatoes, and parsley. Rocoto relleno (spicy red chili pepper that is stuffed with beef, spices and hard boiled egg, topped with a cheese and milk mixture, then oven baked), moves on to the soups, preferably the caldo blanco (chunks of mutton, potatoes, corn, garbanzo beans, starch and spices) or the puchero (boiled beef, pork and chicken with vegetables and spices), passes to the main dishes, of which there are many fabulous options to choose from, like adobo (pork loin marinated in garlic, onions and chicha de jora – corn beer – and served with bread), any of the picantes (stews with a base of pork, beef, mutton or duck), a chupe de camarones (prawn chowder, seasoned with red chili peppers and chocked full of faba beans, rice, corn kernels and potatoes) or the fried malaya (flank steak, boiled and seared), and ends with a dessert, the favorite being queso helado (“frozen cheese” directly translated, but really a type of coconut and cinnamon ice cream), but you may also choose from a wide range of chocolates and toffees. To wash that all down, order one of the local beers or a regionally produced soft drink or even chicha de jora (corn beer). If you wish for a “digestivo” – a beverage to aid in digestion, drank after the meal – then order a té piteado (anise infusion) or Anís Najar (a local anisette).
Are you looking for HOTELS in AREQUIPA?