With Peru’s variety of climates, you can fuel up on countless types of fruits, vegetables, and grains — so here’s just a tiny taste of its veggie-vendor scene to get you thinking!
By Robert Brodey | Outpost Travel Media
The secret is getting out that Peru is an emerging international powerhouse in the culinary world. Chefs like Virgilio Martinez Véliz, the chef and owner of Central Restaurante, a visionary establishment in Lima, regularly show up on prestigious lists of the best restaurants in the world. Even more amazing, many of the top chefs in Peru find inspiration in the traditional regional cuisines of the country — from ceviche (fresh raw fish cured in citrus juices) to the meaty cuy (guinea pig).
So it’s safe to say Peru has a strong food culture — but what happens if you find yourself in-country and happen to be a vegetarian or vegan? Are you going to starve to death? Will you be forced to eat rice at every meal? Will you have to raid that jar of peanut butter you’ve kept stashed in your bag for such an emergency?
No way! With 4,000 varietals of potatoes alone, local dishes found throughout Peru’s diverse territory — from sea to mountains to jungle — reflect an equally vast spectrum of flavours and vital nutrients. Peru also has a large assortment of protein-rich beans, so expect to be treated to such things as the ensalada de pallares, a fresh lima bean salad with citrus dressing. In the high Andes, you may feast on a hardy bowl of locro de zapallo, a traditional stew that can be made with butternut squash, corn, potatoes, and onions.
With Peru’s wide variety of climates, you can discover and fuel up on countless types of fruits, veggies, and grains — including plantain, quinoa, guanábana (an aromatic fruit from the Amazon), and lúcuma (eggfruit). Now to a few specifics:
In Lima |
With a population approaching 11 million, the capital of Peru, which lies along the country’s arid coastline, definitely has the greatest number of vegetarian options. There are literally dozens of dedicated veggie/vegan establishments in Lima, including El Jardín De Jazmín, SANA Vegan Café (and here), and Raw Café – Independencia. Of course, there are even more veggie-friendly restaurants that run the gamut from family-run spots to high-end restaurants like Social (on Avenida La Paz), and the highly rated Nanka Fusión Orgánica.
In Cusco |
One of the most frequented cities in Peru by travellers, Cusco is considered by many to be the gateway to the high Andes (if you’re flying in). In Cusco, there are dozens of restaurants offering veggie and vegan options, as well as straight up vegan kitchens like Green Point Restaurant, and the Chia Vegan Restaurant.
In smaller communities |
The popular town of Puno, on the shores of magical Lake Titicaca, also has a few veggie options, including Loving Hut Vegan, which offers affordable animal-free dishes, as well as a small family-run vegetarian restaurant called Natur Center.
Even many smaller towns and cities like Abancay, Piura, and Moyobamba have vegetarian options. So whether you’re in a big city like Lima or a smaller centre like Arequipa, have no fear, a vegetarian platter is near.
For more information about vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Peru but also around the world check out www.happycow.net, which describes itself as a “not-for-profit-oriented vegan movement.” And of course, please note that the operational status of these great selects in Peru (as of this date) may change due to the COVID-19 pandemic, or as circumstances in-country dictate. Hopefully, of course, as 2021 evolves, for the better! ♦