From the Andes Mountains to the beaches of the Pacific, Peru is a country of intense heights, beautiful beaches and ancient cultures. It is also famous for its cuisine, which is said by many to be the best food of the South American continent. And now, we bring to you Tradiciones Peruanas, the most Authentic Peruvian food in Pereira, Colombia.
From Lima to Dosquebradas (Pereira)
Owners Chef Ulises and his wife Monica are two of the most passionate people in the business. With all their love for their cultural food, opening a restaurant was the obvious choice for them upon arrival. Now, 4 months after their grand opening, they have invited Pereira City Guide to come and try a taste! You will find them only a block from the Santa Monica Megabus station in Dosquebradas, a sister city to Pereira, across the Viaduct.
The first thing we learned is that Peruvian food is not Peruvian unless you have some very special ingredients at hand:
- Aji Amarillo: an orange pepper.
- Aji Panka: a red pepper.
- Aji Mirasol: a yellow pepper.
- Aji Rocoto: a round red pepper which is stuffed with deliciousness.
- Canchita Chulpi: a heritage variety of Peruvian corn used for special preparations.
- Pisco and Chicha de jora: Two types of Peruvian spirits which are used both for cooking and drink preparations.
There are many more ingredients that we didn’t even catch properly in our interview, but these are some of the most important, and essential for some of the plates. As Monica was explaining to me “El pisco se usa para flamear y sellar sabores“, the flavor of pisco is for flambé and to seal the flavors. Meaning that, without the essential ingredients, you lose the entire sentido, or feeling, of the original dish. Let’s take a look at some of their plates.
The Origins of Peruvian Cuisine
- European: Mostly Italy and Spain, with some German.
- Asian: Mostly Chinese and Japanese.
- Native Food Traditions: Many of the flavorings of Peru come from indigenous cultures.
Chef Ulises is from Trujillo, and Monica is from Lima. As we spoke to them about their restaurant, they shared some of their insights and motivations with us. Chef Ulises describes his food heritage, “lo hicieron mi abuelos, mis padres, y ahora hago yo. Generacion y generacion siempre.” What my grandparents did, so also my parents and now I do it too. Generation by generation always. Carrying on the tradition of the tastes and flavors which were handed down to them by their ancestors. Monica describes his passion as “El esta en la cocina como un pez en el agua.” He is in the kitchen like a fish in water.”
!Bien Takuchi, Bien Taypa!
If you visit their restaurant and you enjoy their food as much as we did, be sure to say to them: “bien takuchi, bien taypa!” A Peruvian saying which means “plenty of food, very delicious.” And, its true. Their plates arrive appropriately heaped with well-prepared food. If you aren’t very hungry, you may want to consider splitting a plate.
Tallarin Salteado de Mariscos
One of the plates we tried comes from chinese roots of immigrant Peruvians. Tellurian Salteado de Mariscos, is sea food (octopus, squid, shrimp and mussels) on a bed of pasta with a salty and savory flavor. Seasoned with Aji Amarillo, be sure to ask for the “spicy” version if you enjoy a little extra heat. If you are Colombian and concerned about “picante,” they have adjusted many of their plates accordingly with the spicy-ness as an option, rather than a must.
Causa Relleno de Pollo
Causa Rellena de Pollo is like mash potatoes meets some avocado, a touch of lemon and tons of fresh flavor. Not to be compared with the Colombian “papa rellena” either. It is its own flavor, taste and feeling. If you don’t like (or can’t eat) seafood, this is a great option. Slightly smaller plate, but equally satisfying.
Arroz con pollo y Huacaina
This is a special plate which brings together the flavors of chicha and aji panka. The meat is soaked in a combination of chicha and spices prior to cooking. The Huacaina is a type of sauce made from aji amarillo and a bit of cream which looks delicious. It is on our “To-try” list.
Leche de Tigre
This is an ancient recipe which is said to be an aphrodisiac of the Inca’s. It’s a seafood cocktail with a creamy look and plenty of shrimp. It is very colorful, and a Peruvian delicacy often found at the cevicherias. Try it and let us know how you liked it.
We aren’t going to go into detail, but needless to say, they have fresh Authentic Peruvian ceviche. Monica was explaining to me how “real” ceviche, is raw fish with lemon. The lemon “cooks” the fish turning it from pink to white and creating the flavor that makes ceviche, ceviche. You can order many different types, we mentioned the Leche de Tigre previously, as one of the many options.
Special Drink Preparations
Chef Ulises hasn’t cut any corners in his quest to share Peruvian cuisine and traditions with us. In fact, we are going to give you a quick peek into their special drink preparations that help to make this the most Authentic Peruvian Restaurant in Pereira.
Blending the flavors of a fruit variety which is the equivalent of Uchuva in Colombia, you will find a refreshing and authentic take on Peruvian Pisco. Aguaymanto Sour is like pisco sour, an alcoholic cocktail with pisco!
This is a classic Peruvian drink, not to be confused with the Spanish pisco, it is probably based on that tradition, but its a very well-known and famous cocktail from Peru, also. The texture is light and fluffy with a subtle lemon flavor and a cool freshness that will have you begging for more!
Not to be confused with the alcoholic chicha traditions of Colombia, “chicha morada” is a drink which you can find all over Peru sold in the barrios or at markets. For this preparation they use the black heritage corn and clove, to create the flavors which result in a refreshing non-alcoholic beverage. This one can be ordered by the glass or pitcher, and tastes kinda like grape juice, only better.
Hours, Location and Information
Though it is still a very fresh, brand-new restaurant, we can attest to their passion and desire to prepare delicious food. We hope you help us #BuyLocal and #SupportLocal the next time you eat out. If you have never tried the taste of Peru, then you should make haste. And, if you have tried this cuisine previously, but maybe weren’t very impressed…then give it another chance. You might be pleasantly surprised! We hope you enjoy Tradiciones Peruanas as much as we did and be sure to share this article with all your friends and neighbors so they can too!
Hours: 11 am – 10 pm Wednesday – Monday, closed on Tuesday. Almuerzo Ejecutive Available
Location: Calle 18 (Avenida Santa Monica) #16-30, Centro Comercial Santa Monica, Local #16
Phone: English or Spanish +57 310 889 5403
We used Wikipedia to help fact check our information (We don’t always understand correctly in Spanish): en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peruvian_cuisineOwner/Editor of OpenMindedTraveler.com, Erin is also the Project Administrator/Editor of Pereira City Guide.com - She has been living in Pereira, Colombia for several years.