Peruvian meal varies a lot, and each region or city offers its own specialties that you won’t be able to find in any other part of the country.
Today I’ve prepared a top list of the dishes you should try in “Ciudad Blanco de Arequipa”(esp. “White City of Arequipa”)
#1 Cancer soup – Chupe de Camarones
This is for sure #1 and leader of my list. Arequipa was built around the mountainous river, rich for cancers. And Peruvian meal culture created very original and delicious way of preparing it.
So, the cancer soup is creamy, maybe a bit sour, filled with corn, potatoes, Jukka (a vegetable, similar to potatoes) and lots of cancers. Yes, it is cancer soup, not a shrimp one. However, these two animals are pretty similar, they are not the same and you will have a great chance to check it!
The best place to try it is Picanteria – a traditional canteen in Arequipa.
#2 Stuffed rocoto (paper) – Rocoto relleno
You may think that there is nothing original in this dish, as you’ve probably tried the similar one in Eastern Europe (like Romania or Bulgaria). Both look like a paper stuffed with a forcemeat, so what’s the difference?
The primary difference is that European use a sweet paprika, but Peruvian (as always) a spicy one called rocoto.
#inside: here I need to caution you, don’t eat a lot rocoto itself, as it is really spicy.
Also, as always delicious dishes become original in small details. The way to prepare a forcemeat in European and in Peruvian versions are very different.
Rocoto Relleno is always served with a potato cake – potato slices layered and mixed with a cheese and baked with a cream.
Where to find it? Of course in Picanteria.
#3 Chicha de Guiñapo
Chicha is a Peruvian natural beverage, and I actually don’t know how many types of Chicha exists in Peru. You’ve probably heard a lot about Chicha Morada (made from violet corn), but Chicha Guiñapo is an absolutely different thing. It has a purple color, original taste and some few degrees of alcohol =). Chicha is usually served in Picanterias and appears a great drink for eating #1 Chupe de Camarones or #2 Rocoto Relleno.
#4 Alfajores Arequipeños.
You ate great, and now is time for a dessert! For sure, the best sweet thing you should try in Arequipa is alfojores. The best once you may find in the stores of the brand “Antojitos de Arequipa” (Antojitos for Anton sounds good for me=) . You can find this stores only in Arequipa central square, Plaza de Armas, and you will be amazed by a variety of different tastes and flavors. Peruvians use a lot their tropical fruits, so don’t try to ask the seller about their names (that’s impossible to manage with all of them), just try and find the best one for you! My personal favorite is a big one, crispy with a honey in a big red box.
#5 Ice cheese – Queso helado.
Are you ice-cream lover? Cool, me too! The cheapest and most delicious snack on a hot sunny day will be local ice cheese. Actually, it doesn’t relate to cheese at all, but Peruvian called it ice cheese=) You can easily find it in every corner, just look for a traditionally dressed girl with a big wooden bucket. A small cup of ice cheese will cost you less than $1.
#6 Andean kiwi – Kiwi Andino.
Probably, you are not a fan of sweet desserts and prefer fruits? No worries, Arequipa has options to satisfy anyone! Andean kiwi is a local fruit that amazed me a lot. Actually, like with an ice cheese, this fruit doesn’t relate to a kiwi at all. It is a fruit from an Andean kind of cactus, that may relate to kiwi maybe only with a color and look. Andean kiwi is sweet enough and the best way to try it is in fresh. You may find it in the local stores of Andean people, on the way to Colca Canyon.
The last item in my list is Empanadas. While it’s not something original from Arequipa, and you may find it all over Peru, I strongly recommend you to take a cup of coffee and meat or cheese Empanadas for breakfast. Arequipa can offer you some nice places for Empanadas, I can recommend you one funny called “Don Empanadon”=)
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If I’ve missed something, don’t be shy to tell me about it in comments too.✍