Because Lima is known for its top cuisine, taking a Peruvian cooking class is a great way to discover some of the most traditional recipes and learn how to recreate them at home. With the help of a chef, visit one of Lima’s best markets to pick out fresh and local ingredients to use in your cooking. Strolling around different stands you will get an overview of the country’s diverse regions, by learning (and tasting) about exotic fruits and vegetables you have never heard of before. Next, head back to your chef’s cooking studio and roll up your sleeves for your hands-on experience. Typically, in a 4-hour class you’ll learn at least three or four recipes such as Peru’s famous ceviche, lomo saltado, papa rellena, pastel de choclo, aji de gallina, and much more, depending on your culinary preferences.
Once known as “Ciudad de Los Reyes” (the City of Kings), Lima is now considered the “gastronomic capital of Latin America” and a destination that belongs on every foodie’s bucket list. And because Peru is one of the world’s best culinary destinations, we couldn’t imagine a day in Lima without experiencing its mouth-watering famous cuisine by attending a cooking class. We chose to spend our time with Haku Tours, the only social and sustainable travel agency in Lima that helps the less fortunate communities living in the “shanty towns”. Our guide Jesus was highly-knowledgeable about the history, culture and traditions of his country, and our chef David taught us how to cook the world’s most yummy dishes, sharing with us a lot of cooking tips. We spent a perfect day together tasting fresh fruits we had never heard of before, nibbling on snacks made by ourselves while sipping the famous Chicha Morada (a local drink made of purple corn) and preparing an absolutely delicious lunch in traditional clay pots.
Tips&Tricks: Lima is an ideal city to spend at least 3 full days (we still regret that due to our flight itinerary we could only spend two), as there is so much to see, do and eat.
Top Guided Tours and Activities (our favorite choices)
A Trip to the Local Market
A perfect culinary experience begins with choosing the right ingredients, so after they picked us up we headed to the local market located in Surquillo district (just next to Miraflores). As the market is huge, it was a great opportunity to interact with the locals that welcomed us with a big smile. The Surquillo Market is one of the best places in Lima to try traditional Peruvian street food, exotic fruits such as lúcuma or chirimoya (that immediately became our favorite), vegetables, herbs, nuts, and spices from across the country.
Divided into three main geographic regions: coastal desert, mountain highland and tropical forest, Peru occupies one of the richest agricultural lands in South America. Therefore, is one of the most biodiverse places in the world, with a significant number of unique crops, fruits and vegetables. More than 4,000 varieties of native potatoes (with endless ways to be served) grow in the Andean highlands, and over 55 varieties of maize are grown throughout the country, more than in any other place in the world.
Tips&Tricks: Peru is home to a long list of native “superfoods” such as: quinoa, kiwicha, camu-camu, lúcuma, maca, purple corn, yacon, cacao, aguaymanto, or sacha inchi.
Our Hands-on Peruvian Culinary Experience
For food lovers and experienced cooks alike, a hands-on culinary experience will help you understand the culture, customs and flavors of each new place you visit. Guided by our chef, we prepared delicious corn snacks from scratch and learned how to make two traditional and popular Peruvian dishes: Papa Rellena (a savory chicken and vegetables mixture stuffed into mashed potatoes and deep fried to a golden brown, served with homemade salsa criolla) and Lomo saltado (stir-fried beef tenderloin slices, sautéed with onions, tomatoes, aji and spices, served with french fries and rice).