Peruvian Food on an Amazon Cruise
| Cruise Tips
Peruvian cuisine is gaining international recognition from its wide range of cultural influences and ingredients. Each region of Peru has its traditional dishes, with fish and exotic fruits, being the staples of Amazonian cuisine, proving to be an exceptionally tasty combination. On board an Amazon river cruise in Peru, you’ll have a taste of the mouth-watering local dishes. The menu on board a river cruise reflects the country’s cultural diversity, focusing on local ingredients and dishes.
Naturally, fish is the king of the Amazonian cuisine. There are thousands of species of fish in the Amazon river, so that’s no surprise! There are dozens of exceptionally tasteful species of fish, a favorite being the paiche, one of the world's largest freshwater fish. The paiche when cooked has a similar texture to steak, and is very filling. The freshness and special flavor of Amazon fish make the dishes truly delicious. They are usually served grilled, but they can also be fried, steamed and presented in various sauces and stews.
While on your Amazon cruise, look out for the popular Patarashca dish, or fish grilled in vegetables. This dish uses fresh fish with fresh onions, garlic, tomatoes, and sweet chilies finely chopped and topped with cilantro marinated in extra virgin olive oil, white wine and all wrapped up in a fresh bijao leaf and grilled to perfection. Don’t forget to bring back any caught Piranhas from the fishing excursion– they make for a tasty meal!
Wrapping fish, meats or vegetables with rice or other delicacies in leaves is a traditional form of Amazonian cuisine. The most famous wrapped dish in the Peruvian jungle is the Juane. The Juane is probably the most popular dish in the Peruvian Amazon jungle because it was named in honour of San Juan Bautista, and it is tradition to prepare this dish on June 24th, during the Catholic Feast of San Juan in Iquitos. The basic juane is made on the basis of rice, meat, olives, hard-boiled egg and spices, which is wrapped with bijao or plantain leaves. The wrap is put to boil for about an hour and a half. The dish is accompanied by various foods, a fried banana being the most popular.
Among the fruits of Peru's jungle is the camu camu, which contains 40 times more vitamin C than the kiwifruit. Many of the Amazon’s fruits are dubbed as superfoods and are often used to treat health problems and illnesses. Read about the Top 7 Amazon Superfoods. Non-native fruits such as orange, grapefruit, mango, pineapple and star apple are also in abundance, as well as other jungle fruits like, maracuya (passion fruit), guanabana, cocona, chirimoya and dry palm fruits like the aguaje and açaí. These fruits are offered as breakfast juices in the morning, incorporated into desserts and cocktails and also often used in sauces for fish, meat and vegetable dishes, providing an unexpected, tasteful flavor.
Plantains (bananas) are another staple food in the Amazon. The unripe fruit can be cooked by steaming, boiling or frying. Plantains are sometimes referred to as cooking bananas, to distinguish it from the sweet, or dessert banana. When cooking in the same way as potatoes, it has a similar flavor and texture. Plantains tend to be firmer and lower in sugar content than dessert bananas.
Other popular dishes include the Tacacho, made from fried slices of plantain mashed with chicharones (fried pork fat). It is usually accompanied with chorizo (fried sausage) making it a savory combination. The dish is typical of Iquitos as well as the Peruvian Amazon. Tacacho is often served alongside Cecina, a ham-like cut of pork, cured, dried, and salted. The Chonta Salad, is made with raw hearts of palm cut in strings like fettucini, seasoned with local spices to enhance the palm flavor. This salad look very plain, since it usually does not include any other vegetable, but it is extremely fresh and flavourful on its own.
Other traditional Peruvian dishes are also served on the cruises, such as Ceviche, Causa Limeña, Tiradito, Lomo Saltado, among others. The chefs can happily accommodate any dietary requests if notified in advance. You can contact us for more information about the food served on board, or to request any dietary restrictions.
Lastly, we’ll leave you with Peru’s national cocktail, the Pisco Sour– made with Peruvian Pisco, lime juice, sugar and a splash of egg whites.
Why don’t you try to make one next time you are entertaining guests?
Pisco Sour Recipe
Pisco Sour Ingredients:
- 2 parts Pisco
- 1 part freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 party simple syrup (or melted sugar with water)
- 1 egg white
Pisco Sour Method:
- In a shaker, blend together Pisco, Lime Juice, Simple Syrup, Egg White and Ice.
- Shake for 30 seconds.
- Strain mixture into a glass.
- Top it off with 3 drops of bitter.