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5 Seafood Dishes to Try in Peru

With over 1,500 miles of Pacific coastline, it should come as little surprise that the sea dominates and drives Peruvian cuisine. If you can catch it in a net, you’re likely to find it on your plate. And although the seafood options are nearly endless, there are a few classics everyone who travels to Peru should try. Here are 5 tasty seafood treats to sample during your next Peru vacation.

1. Ceviche. By far the most famous Peruvian seafood option, if you only try one seafood dish when you’re in Peru, make it ceviche. This fresh dish is made from chunks of raw white fish coated in limejuice. The dish is served with onions and chili, although it is very rarely spicy.  A side serving of corn or potatoes usually accompanies the dish.

2. Chaufa de Mariscos. This dish combines two common Peruvian food styles: seafood and Chinese food. In Peru, Chinese food is really a Chinese-Peruvian blend that they call chifa. Extremely affordable and found on almost every street corner, chifa restaurants are an unexpected Peruvian staple. The dish chaufa de mariscos is fried rice with bits of seafood mixed in.

3. Tiradito. Very similar to ceviche, tiradito is also a raw fish dish. And like chaufa de mariscos, it uses Asian influence. Food experts believe the dish originated from the Japanese community in Peru. The dish consists of raw strips of white fish also seasoned with lime, but lacks the onions that come in ceviche.

4. Chicharron de pescado. This is a delicious dish of fried fish. A common starter at beachside restaurants, portions are usually generous. If you’re looking something more exciting, you can get other seafood items breaded as well, such shrimp and octopus along with the standard fish.

5. Causa. This dish doesn’t have to include seafood, but commonly does. Causa is the name for a special potato dish. It consists of two layers of mashed and formed yellow potato with a creamy filling in between. The filling can including just about anything, but usually includes bits of seafood. Other common fillings include avocado and chicken.

Regardless of what dish you decide to try, make sure you wash it down with a proper Peruvian beverage. The best non-alcoholic choice is Inca Kola, a neon-colored fizzy soda drink, or chicha morada, a purple corn drink that tastes surprisingly delicious. If you’re a beer fan, try a Cusquena, Peru’s most popular beer. And of course, you can’t leave Peru without sipping a a pisco sour, the country’s national cocktail.

A few good seafood restaurants in Lima to get your taste test started are Astrid y Gaston, La Costa Verde, Visa al Mar, and Punta Sal. If you want to go local considering heading down to the fish market in Chorillos. This is a lively place during Lima’s summer months when sunbathers drop in for an afternoon seafood snack. You can also see the fish fresh from the sea around the corner, where local fishermen sell their daily catch.

Laura works for a South America travel company that specializes in Machu Picchu luxury tours.