The distinctive cuisine of Peru, with its citrus-marinated seafood and other flavorful dishes, is reproduced throughout Miami, from casual cevicherias to white-tablecloth restaurants.
Peruvian food is so popular here that one Miami Flavors entry would not do it justice. Today, we focus on Peru’s sea-based cuisine; we’ll highlight its meatier dishes in an upcoming edition.
Peru’s rich culinary history dates to its Inca origins, and its traditional food retains those native flavors. However, many of the country’s seafood specialties draw inspiration from its Asian immigrants, particularly from Japan.
When exploring Peruvian seafood, expect flavors to be refreshingly light yet invigorating, with an acidic bite from citrus and a building heat from peppers.
Here are terms to know and places to seek out in your Peruvian culinary journey through Miami.
A bright-orange chile pepper with a mild to medium heat level that is somewhat subtle, allowing the flavors it’s paired with to shine.
The crown jewel of Peruvian seafood, this wildly popular dish is traditionally a combination of chopped raw fish mixed with onions, peppers and cilantro in a citrus marinade.
This pungent, fresh-tasting green herb (see sidebar) pops up in Peruvian ceviches, soups and as a ubiquitous garnish.
The most important component to Peruvian seafood dishes other than the fish itself. In ceviches and tiraditos, the acidity from the citrus, usually lime, “cooks” the fish. In cooked dishes, citrus adds zest and acidity.
Those who prefer their fish cooked will enjoy jalea de pescado, lightly breaded and fried fish garnished with onions and cilantro. For the seafood variety, look for jalea de mariscos; a combination of fish and seafood is called jalea mixta.
: Much hotter than aji amarillo, rocoto chiles taste citrusy sweet at first bite, then they erupt with heat.
Similar to sashimi or crudo, tiradito consists of thinly sliced pieces of raw fish that are bathed in citrus and often accompanied by a spicy component.
Don’t be surprised to find sweet potato, corn and yuca mixed in with your ceviche; these veggies are common components to Peruvian seafood dishes.
Miami Flavors is an occasional series that highlights the various ethnic cuisines that are prevalent in South Florida.