10 street foods in Lima that you must try
The streets of Lima offer a combination of aromas and colors. It is that street foods are the order of the day. For an economic cost, walkers can enjoy the culinary delights of the city such as: picarones, tamales, rachi, butifarra, the famous ceviche and more. These delicacies can be tried in any corner of the city, whether in its tourist, central or peripheral area.
Picarones are one of the favorite desserts in Lima and Peru. They are made from flour, sweet potato, pumpkin, cornstarch and sugar. It has the shape of donuts and a soft and crunchy texture. The secret ingredient is a honey cream made with orange peel and chancaca.
The history of the Picarones dates back to pre-Inca times. With the arrival of the Spanish, ingredients were added to culminate with its current recipe. The people of Lima usually consume it in the afternoons and nights. They can be found in any market in the city. Prices vary depending on the market or cafeteria.
- Approximate cost: 5 soles per serving (approximately 4 picarones).
- More information: The ‘Chabuca Granda’ mall in the center of Lima, picarones are sold everywhere (especially in the afternoons and nights).
The Peruvian tamal is made from corn. In Lima and on the country’s coast, it is prepared using roasted peanuts, butter and chili. In addition, boiled eggs, olives and chicken (or pork) shreds are added. Unlike the Andean tamal, called humita, its flavor is spicier.
The tamal can be found in any market in Lima. Limeños usually consume it for breakfast, accompanied by bread and hot coffee. To the south and north of the city (in Mala, Cañete, Huacho and Huaral) they are usually prepared larger and with better portions of meat.
- Approximate cost: 3 soles per tamal.
- More information: In Lima it is customary to enjoy the tamal accompanied with bread at breakfast time. Of course it can be accompanied by a hot coffee.
The rachi ‘calientito’ is one of the most celebrated dishes in Lima’s tourist markets and restaurants. This popular dish is made from small portions of beef belly and tripe. On a barbecue or grill it is fried and served with potatoes and corn. It is also known as ‘choncholí’.
In Peru, rachi is usually served as an aperitif. It can be consumed in all markets in Lima as well as tourist restaurants. Its history dates back to colonial times. The viscera of the cattle were used by Afro-Peruvians for immediate consumption.
- Approximate cost: 5 soles per small plate.
- More information: This dish can also be enjoyed in the traditional restaurants of the city at a higher price and, consequently, in a higher proportion.
La butifarra is one of the sandwiches most celebrated by Lima people. It is consumed especially in gastronomic fairs, in tourist and downtown areas. It is made from pork sausage. Limeños usually accompany it with French bread (or ciabatta), onion, lettuce and creams.
The butifarra is not usually consumed in the popular markets of the city. The reason is the difficulty of its preparation. The so-called ‘country ham’ can be found in specialized stores. Due to its high cost, in the popular sectors of the city they use hot dogs or chorizo instead of the sausage.
- Approximate cost: 10 soles for bread with sausage.
- More information: Lima nights are preferred by diners to enjoy it. Two fixed places to go to eat the butifarra are: the Chabuca Granda avenue in the Center of Lima and the Kennedy Park in Miraflores.
The Mazamorra morada is one of the classic desserts of Peruvian cuisine. Its secret ingredient is purple corn from the Andes Mountains. It also includes cinnamon, pineapple peel, quince, apple and sweet potato flour. Its consumption has spread not only in Lima, but throughout Peru.
In Lima, the mazamorra can be found in any market in the city. Limeños usually consume it accompanied by rice pudding (another very famous dessert) as well as ground cinnamon. It can be eaten hot or cold. The famous Peruvian drink called chicha morada is also prepared from purple corn.
- Approximate cost: 3 soles per medium portion.
- More information: The fame of the mazamorra made it commercialize not only in Lima but in all the streets of Peru.
Suspiro a la limeña
This dessert was sweet and smooth and was baptized as ‘suspiro de limeña’ by the poet José Gálvez at the beginning of the 20th century. The ‘suspiro’ has characteristics of the white delicacy. It is made from condensed milk, milk, egg, sugar, port wine, and vanilla essence.
This dessert is not consumed in a popular way. It can be found in specialty cafes in the city center or tourist areas. It is usually served in small glasses. The result is a pleasant sweet taste that invites you to try more and more.
- Approximate cost: 5 soles per small portion.
- More information: Kennedy Park is one of the public places where you can enjoy this Lima dessert.
The turrón, also called turrón doña Pepa, is a 100% Lima dessert that has gained fame throughout Peru. It has a colorful sweetness that includes ingredients such as: flour, butter, egg and sugar. Its secret ingredient is its honey, made from chancaca, orange juice, apple, pineapple, quince, banana, lemon, and sugar.
The turrones can be consumed all year round. However, in October is when there are different offers throughout the city. That month the processions of the Señor de los Milagros are celebrated, a very old Lima tradition. The turrones are 100% Lima. In various parts of Peru it is not consumed in the same way as in Lima.
- Approximate cost: 5 soles per serving of 250 grams.
- More information: The turrón is consumed all year round but mainly in October, the month when the Señor de los Milagros procession takes place.
The arroz zambito rice is a Lima dessert that was adapted to the famous rice pudding brought by the Spanish in colonial times. As its name suggests, it is made from rice with a dark touch. The ingredient that gives it this color is chancaca. It also uses cinnamon, milk, cloves, and raisins.
The arroz zambito can be consumed in markets throughout the city at the ‘mazamorras’ stalls. Limeños prefer it hot served with cinnamon powder. It is also usually accompanied by the famous purple porridge.
- Approximate cost: 3 soles per medium portion.
- More information: This Lima dessert can be consumed in the Chabuca Granda avenue (Downtown Lima) and in the Kennedy Park (Miraflores).
Anticuchos are popular in Andean countries such as Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Peru. In Lima they are considered as ‘flagship dishes’. They are consumed in all social sectors. It is made from fried heart of beef and seasoned with oregano, pepper, cumin, ground garlic, vinegar, ají panca and salt. It is served crossed with a cane stick and accompanied by potato and parboiled corn.
The anticuchos have an origin that dates back to pre-Inca times. Some research suggests that the Incas consumed llama heart. In colonial times, with the arrival of various spices, their consumption became popular. Limeños crave this dish mainly in October, when the processions of the Señor de los Milagros take place.
- Approximate cost: 12 soles per serving (of 2 anticuchos accompanied by potatoes, corn and more).
- More information: The anticuchos can be found anywhere in the city of Lima. The people of Lima usually consume it at night.
Ceviche is the most famous dish in Peru. In Lima and other cities in Peru it can be consumed in any street market, at very cheap prices. It is that its preparation is simple: it is pieces of fish marinated in Peruvian lemon juice. It is usually accompanied by sweet potatoes, lettuce, corn, and whatever the imagination can add.
Ceviche can be consumed in the most exclusive restaurants in the city. Also in the most popular markets. There it is usually accompanied by other stews. The prices are very cheap. The same happens in the markets of all the cities of Peru. It is served cold and is preferred for lunch accompanied by chicha morada or an ice cold beer. Advantage!
- Approximate cost: From 5 to 50 soles depending on the market or restaurant you choose.
- More information: In the popular markets of the city of Lima you can find ceviche dishes accompanied by red noodles, rice with chicken, chanfainita and more. These dishes are called ‘7 colors’.
By Machupicchu Terra – Last updated, August 28, 2023