Typical Dishes in Cusco

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Welcome to Cusco, where every dish tells a story! This region in the Peruvian Andes is renowned for its rich culinary heritage, blending indigenous flavors with colonial influences. Here’s a list of typical dishes you should try during your visit to Cusco, each with its own essence and tradition. Get ready for a unique culinary journey!

Discover the Unique Flavors of Cusco

Here is a list of the most popular and delicious dishes you must try in Cusco:

Timpo or Puchero

Timpo, also known as Puchero, is a classic Cusco dish. It’s a hearty dish combining various meats like beef, pork, and lamb, along with a variety of vegetables such as cabbage, potato, and carrot, as well as dehydrated potato or chuño. What makes this dish stand out is its richness and blend of flavors, perfect for warming up on cold Andean days.

Chicken Soup

Chicken Soup is a comforting and nutritious dish made with chicken, noodles, and vegetables like chopped green onion. Its rich and hearty broth is perfect for replenishing energy after a long day of exploring the city and its surroundings.

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Cusco-Style Stuffed Rocoto

Stuffed Rocoto is a dish with roots in Arequipa but has its own version in Cusco. It features a rocoto (a type of chili pepper) filled with ground meat, onion, and raisins, then baked to create a mix of spicy and sweet flavors. This dish is a treat for spice lovers.

Cusco-Style Fried Guinea Pig

Fried Guinea Pig is a traditional dish involving guinea pig, which, in this Cusco version, is flattened and fried to give it a crispy texture and intense flavor. It is often served with potatoes and noodles, a delight for those seeking an authentic culinary experience.

Cusco-Style Olluquito with Charqui

This dish combines olluco, an Andean tuber, with charqui, which is dried meat (typically alpaca or llama). The result is a colorful and flavorful dish, perfect with rice. It’s a testament to the culinary creativity found in Cusco.

Cusco-Style Chicharrón

Chicharrón is a classic dish in many regions of Peru, but Cusco gives it a special touch. It is made with fried pork until it is crispy and juicy. It is served with potatoes, corn, and often a salad with onion, mint, and chili pepper. This dish is ideal for sharing and enjoying with friends.

Cusco-Style Adobo

Cusco-Style Adobo is a dish traditionally associated with festivities. It’s made with pork marinated in chicha de jora (a fermented corn drink), garlic, chili peppers, and other spices, then slowly cooked until tender. The result is a juicy, flavorful dish that is especially enjoyed during special occasions, often served with oropesa bread.

Chiri Uchu

Chiri Uchu is a cold dish served during the Corpus Christi festival in Cusco, consisting of various ingredients like guinea pig, chicken, charqui, roasted corn, cheese, tortillas, and rocoto. This variety of elements reflects the region’s rich culture, making it a quintessential festive dish.

Pachamanca

Pachamanca is an ancient tradition that involves cooking food underground using hot stones. Various meats like chicken, pork, and fish (depending on the occasion), along with potatoes, sweet potatoes, and other vegetables, are used. This cooking method imparts a smoky and unique flavor to the food. Enjoying a Pachamanca connects you to Andean roots.

Cusco-Style Roast Piglet

Roast Piglet is a popular dish in Cusco celebrations. It is prepared with marinated pork, slowly roasted in an oven until tender and juicy, typically served with sweet or savory tamales and oropesa bread. It’s a dish you shouldn’t miss when visiting Cusco.

Inca Bread – Humitas

Humitas are a typical snack made with ground corn and filled with cheese, then wrapped in corn husks and steamed. Known as the bread of the Incas, this dish is soft and flavorful, perfect as an appetizer or accompaniment to any meal.

Corn with Cheese

Corn with Cheese is a simple yet delicious dish, typical of the Andean region. It consists of boiled corn served with fresh cheese. This dish is common at local events and fairs, and is an ideal option for a quick and tasty snack. The contrast between the sweet corn and salty cheese creates a unique flavor that reflects the simplicity and tradition of Cusco’s cuisine.

Chicha de Jora

Chicha de Jora is a traditional fermented corn-based beverage, very popular in the Cusco region. It has a slight alcoholic content and is enjoyed at many local celebrations in Cusco.

Cusco-Style Strawberry Chicha

Cusco-Style Strawberry Chicha is a fermented beverage made with chicha de jora, a liquor derived from corn, and strawberries. This sweet nectar is an integral part of Cusco’s culinary tradition, especially during local festivals and celebrations. With its vibrant pink color and slightly sweet taste, it is an experience that combines history and tradition.

10 Typical Dishes of Cusco You Shouldn’t Miss

These are the dishes you must try, whether at patronal festivals, food fairs, or even in local homes. Don’t miss them during your visit to Cusco to experience the culture and flavors of the Andes.

Chiri Uchu

Chiri Uchu is one of the most emblematic dishes of Cusco, especially during the Corpus Christi celebration. Its name, meaning “cold food” in Quechua, reflects the tradition of this dish. It consists of various ingredients like guinea pig, chicken, cheese, seaweed, rocoto, and corn cake. The combination of flavors and textures makes it a must-try for visitors wanting to taste Cusco’s cuisine.

Cusco-Style Chicharrón

Cusco-Style Chicharrón is a dish that highlights the region’s culinary heritage. It consists of pieces of pork fried in their own fat, resulting in a crispy exterior and a tender interior. It is typically served with boiled potatoes, corn, and onion salsa with mint. For those who love crispy food, Cusco-Style Chicharrón is an ideal choice.

Chairo

Chairo is a traditional soup with pre-Hispanic roots. Its recipe includes local ingredients like lamb, chuño (dehydrated potatoes), corn, and various herbs. This soup is a comforting and nutritious meal, perfect for cold days in Cusco. Chairo reflects the fusion of cultures and the ingenuity in using local products.

Cusco-Style Fried Trout

Fried Trout is a typical dish based on freshwater trout found in the region’s rivers and lakes. The trout is fried until crispy and served with potatoes and salad. This dish showcases Cusco’s natural resources and offers visitors an authentic taste of the local cuisine.

Quinoa Soup

Quinoa Soup is a perfect example of Cusco’s connection with quinoa, a superfood native to the Andean region. This soup is made with quinoa, fresh vegetables, and often beef or chicken. It is a nutritious and flavorful dish that stands out for its healthy value and connection to the region’s ancestral agriculture.

Baked Guinea Pig

Baked Guinea Pig is one of the most traditional and distinctive dishes in Cusco. This dish consists of guinea pig roasted in an oven until the skin is crispy and the meat tender. It is served with potatoes, salads, and sometimes with a spicy sauce for added flavor. Baked Guinea Pig is an example of how Cusco’s cuisine values authenticity and tradition.

Kapchi de Setas

Kapchi de Setas is a delicious vegetarian option in Cusco’s cuisine. It is made with wild mushrooms, eggs, milk, and potatoes, creating a creamy and flavorful mix. The dish is served hot, making it perfect for the region’s cold climate. Kapchi de Setas is an example of the versatility of Cusco’s cuisine and how it can adapt to different tastes and dietary preferences.

Corn with Cheese

Corn with Cheese is a simple but delicious dish, typical of the Andean region. It consists of corn cobs boiled and accompanied by fresh cheese. This dish is common at local events and fairs and is ideal for those looking for a quick and tasty snack. The contrast between the sweet corn and the salty cheese creates a unique flavor that reflects the simplicity and tradition of Cusco’s cuisine.

Cusco-Style Roast Piglet

Cusco-Style Roast Piglet is a festive dish prepared on special occasions. It consists of oven-roasted pork until it’s perfectly cooked and juicy. The piglet is seasoned with local spices, giving it a distinctive flavor, and is usually served with tamale and oropesa bread. Cusco-Style Roast Piglet is a real treat for meat lovers and a tradition worth experiencing.

Zarza de Patitas

Zarza de Patitas is a unique dish that stands out for its texture and flavor. It is made with cooked and shredded pig’s feet mixed with various herbs and spices, along with onion and tomato. This combination results in a dish with a gelatinous yet flavorful texture, often served with potatoes and onion salad.

Zarza de Patitas is an example of how Cusco’s cuisine can be creative with unusual ingredients, creating memorable and character-filled dishes.

This is just a sample of the gastronomic wealth of Cusco, where each dish has a story and tradition behind it, making the culinary experience in this region unique and exciting. Be sure to try these dishes during your visit to Cusco and immerse yourself in the culture and flavors of the Andes.