Essential dishes to eat in Cusco

Reading : 3 min April 2 2018

Peruvian cuisine is already known worldwide for its quality and variety, so much so that, for six consecutive years Peru has won the prize of Main Culinary Destination, awarded by the World Travel Awards.

For this reason, more and more people come to our country attracted solely and exclusively for their food.

While many people take advantage of the passage through Lima to taste the most typical dishes of Peru, in Cusco there is also a great culinary tradition, with unique dishes from the region prepared with techniques that come from precolonial times.

Do you want to enjoy the most delicious dishes during your visit to Cusco? Here you have a glossary with the essential ones.


The visit to Cusco requires a lot of walking, so it is always a good idea to start the day with 100% energy. For this reason, we recommend you to go to the San Pedro Market, a place where, in addition to handicraft items, you will find several food stalls selling large breakfasts at a reasonable price.

Here, undoubtedly, the best is the wide range of fruit juices, from the typical strawberry, orange or banana to the most exotic of papaya, mango or passion fruit, which you can accompany with an exquisite piglet sandwich or a tamal from Cusco, made with corn and filled with different meats. Also, if you want to fight the soroche or altitude sickness, complete your breakfast with a coca tea.


Lunch or dinner

More and more, renowned Peruvian chefs decide to open a restaurant in Cusco. But they are not the only ones looking to show the delicacies of Peruvian food, but there is an infinite variety of restaurants that adapt to the budgets of all tourists who visit this city. Whatever your trip, there are some dishes that you can not miss.

Timpu or puchero: during the Carnival season, the Cusco families come together to taste this soup made with cow, lamb, bacon, potato and various vegetables. Firstly, they serve the soup and then the rest of the parboiled ingredients: meat, chickpeas, sweet potato, cabbage… Without a doubt, this dish is the favorite one for the days of cold and rain.

Chuño cola: this dish of striking name and Inca origin can be found throughout the year in Cusco. It is a spicy broth made with chuño, a type of potatoes dried in the sun. This soup is accompanied with chickpeas, rice and various meats. If you are a spicy lover, this will become one of your favorite dishes.

Cuy chactado: one of the dishes that attracts the most of the attention of tourists in Cusco is the cuy, a kind of guinea pig that in many places is presented whole and open in half. The Cusco version, which is also prepared in Arequipa, is made by frying the guinea pig in abundant oil under a stone that covers it. When it is well crunchy it is removed and served with baked potatoes and aji huacatay. Although at the beginning many people doubt to try it, it is a dish of exquisite flavor and very nutritious.

Olluquito con charqui: the two main ingredients of this dish are only found in some countries of South America. On the one hand there is the olluco, a kind of Andean tuber, and on the other hand is the charqui, which is dehydrated llama or alpaca meat, served in small pieces that are mixed with olluco.

Chicharrón: a typical dish not only of Cusco but of the whole country is the pork rind. It is fried pork made in its own fat and, for lunch or dinner, it is served with creole sauce (onion, lemon and cilantro salad), boiled potatoes and fresh corn and for breakfast it is eaten in a sandwich with sweet potato

Bean kapchi: ideal for the summer seasons, the kapchi de habas is a kind of bean salad, fresh cheese, onion, milk and chili potatoes that is accompanied with white rice.


Quinoa: in soup, in salad and much more! Cusco is one of the great producers of quinoa, so here you will find all shapes and colors dishes made with this cereal. This product, which in recent years has achieved global success for its great nutritional benefits, is the favorite of many tourists who come to Peru, especially for those who seek to taste a vegetarian and delicious dish.


Ceviche: despite not being a coastal city, the success of ceviche in Peru is so great that you can also find it in Cusco. Here there are many restaurants specializing in this dish, but the most popular version is the trout ceviche, a typical fish of the area.


Chicha morada or chicha de jora: if you want to accompany your dishes with a typical drink, you have to ask for a chicha morada or chicha de jora. The first one is made of purple corn, very abundant in the Andean mountains. The second is an alcoholic beverage that is composed mainly of malted corn. Whichever you choose, you will be testing an elaboration that comes from pre-Hispanic times.

Of course, in Cusco there are plenty of restaurants that offer these and other typical dishes from around the country, such as lomo saltado or aji de gallina, so you’ll have to organize well to try each of them. Enjoy your meal!


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