During the process of planning your personalized tour of Peru, you’ve probably heard great things about Peruvian cuisine. In fact, some of our guests book their travel precisely in order to indulge their palates with the delectable Peruvian food they’ve heard about. And one name that’s become synonymous with Peruvian gastronomy is Gastón Acurio, Peru’s superstar chef. The winner of The Diner Club Lifetime Achievement Award 2018, Gastón Acurio has been the top ambassador of Peruvian cuisine for two decades. He has been the main figure in bringing Peruvian gastronomy to the rest of the world, and he invented the term Novoandino to describe his cuisine, which emphasizes innovative recreations of traditional recipes using local, fresh ingredients.
Where can you try some of Gastón Acurio’s food? Well, thankfully, there are several options found in the cities you’re likely to visit during your personalized tour of Peru. Lima, Cusco, and Arequipa each boast at least one Gastón Acurio restaurant, with unique variations of delicious “Gastón-style” Peruvian food.
At the time of publishing this blog, Gastón Acurio has nine restaurants in Peru. While we would love to mention all nine restaurants, we have to shortlist to a few of our favorites. Let’s begin in Lima, your first and last stop on your visit to Peru. It was here that Gastón and his wife, Astrid, also a chef, opened Astrid y Gastón in 1994, a restaurant that has now developed into an international franchise. Their Lima location is on CNN Richard Quest’s “World’s Fifty Best Restaurants for 2018” list. Intriguing-sounding offerings on the menu include the appetizer “Three Centuries of Ceviche” and main course items like “Pasta with Sea Urchin and Rocoto” (a hot Peruvian pepper) and Crunchy Cuy, or guinea pig, with corn gnocchi. Their menu is updated with new dishes seasonally.
Another Lima favorite is the Chifa-inspired Madam Tusan. Chifa is the term used to describe Chinese-Peruvian cuisine, a type of gastronomy that began when the first immigrants arrived to Peru from China a couple of centuries ago. Madam Tusan serves up its own delectable version of Chifa cuisine, including an extensive Dim Sum menu, carnes asadas, (roasted meats), and gourmet variations on classic chifa dishes like pollo enrollado (stuffed rolled chicken filets), as well as several creative versions of fried rice, or chaufa. For lovers of spicy food, they offer the Chinese classic, Mapo Tofu con Cerdo Molido, a super spicy dish featuring ground pork, tofu, Chinese white rice, and lots of hot peppers. Only for the daring!
In Cusco, the restaurant to try Gaston’s cuisine is Chicha, located on Plaza Recocijo. The name is a reference to a fermented purple corn drink that originated in the Andes centuries ago. Chicha’s emphasis is on regional Andean cuisine prepared with local ingredients. This is Andean cuisine with an imaginative twist.
There’s a snack plate with small bites consisting of anticuchos (grilled skewers) of alpaca, buttered corn, empanadas (meat or vegetable-filled turnovers), and Peruvian potatoes accompanied by cremas (sauces for dipping). Mains include Curried Alpaca, the flavorful, traditional Lomo Saltado, (beef with fried potatoes, onions, and tomatoes), and Pollo a la Brasa, succulent, crispy-skinned chicken roasted in a wood-fired oven.
If you pay a visit to Arequipa, the “white city,” during your customized Peru vacation, Arequipa Chicha restaurant is a must-try. It features Arequipeñan cuisine, with an emphasis on land and sea ingredients. Intriguing plates include arroz de erizos (creamy rice with sea urchins), crispy pork elbow, and Ceviche Arequipa, a picante (spicy) version of ceviche that includes limpets, calamari, and abalone in a hot pepper/ citrus marinade. Chicha is located steps away from the Santa Catalina convent, one of Arequipa’s main tourist attractions.
Kuoda is able to arrange an entire Peru custom trip based on indulging your palate with the amazing textures, flavors, and colors of Peruvian gastronomy. If you can stop eating for a minute, be sure to take some time to also relish the sights!