There are so many things I am going to miss about Cusco: the people, the mountains, the language, the beautiful streets and plazas. All of these things have become so dear to me over the last three months. But above all, I am surely going to crave the delicious meals my host mother has been cooking for me.
Prior to coming to Peru I was intrigued by the reviews of culinary genius that Peru has to offer. I soon found out for myself that these reviews were not overrated by any means. It took a little bit of time to adjust to the altitude and the different eating habits, but finally I felt prepared to enjoy the street food to the fullest. Along with other numerous late night attractions in Cusco, the delicious anticuchos easily make my top 10 list.
The locals flock to the anticucho stands (commonly known as anticucherias) around the city center as soon as the sun goes down. Anticuchos were originally made of specially marinated beef hearts roasted on skewers, but over time this traditional Andean food was adjusted to the tastes of tourists. Consequently today you can encounter anticuchos made of chicken, beef filet or even hotdogs. Every portion comes with a delicious roasted papa (potato) and a spicy sauce on the side.
There are several reasons why this traditional food is available mainly at night. It’s a perfect hot snack for the tourists and locals coming out to enjoy the mesmerizing scenes of Cusco and its central plaza at night. The charming light of the hot charcoal also serves as a beautiful addition to the city streets. Cooking meat at night also better preserves its freshness, and the vendors are exempt from paying the local tax for using the street space at night.
Once you try the traditional Cuscenean “shish-kebab,” you will be ready for dessert! For a delicious dessert of picarones, a Peruvian sweet similar to doughnuts, make sure to find the Picaronería Ruinas. You are guaranteed to fall in love with those delicious Peruvian doughnuts cooked in front of you and served with hot sugar sauce. Traditionally this delicious dessert is accompanied by chicha morada, a common Peruvian drink made of purple corn. Picaronería Ruinas, located close to the city center, is always crowded. The locals and the tourists alike share adoration for this traditional place and its delicious picarones. The original idea for making this delicious dessert was brought to Peru during the colonial period; however the recipe was adjusted to the tastes of the locals, which resulted in what is known today as picarones.
The dazzling colors of the sky and mountains, melodic sounds of traditional Peruvian songs and dances and the taste of anticuchos and picarones will stay in my memory forever as a sweet reminder of my semester in Cusco.