Food Culture, Traditional Food, Travel

Chiriuchu, The Center of Corpus Christi

Chiriuchu, the famous dish of Corpus Christi (Photo by Walter Coraza Morveli)

Cusco’s cuisine is a rich Andean tradition inherited from ancient times. It boasts a wide variety of typical dishes that are still being prepared and served in busy picanterías and chicherías of the city of Cusco.

Chiriuchu is considered the signature dish of the city of Cusco because it contains many unique ingredients of the region that delight any palate. It is also seen as the main dish of the Corpus Christi feast. Its translation into Spanish means chilly cold or spicy cold. Although there are many stories of its origin and evolution that explain each ingredient included in the dish, it is not known exactly where its preparation began.

Festival of Chiriuchu in La Plaza San Francisco (Walter Coraza Morveli)
Festival of Chiriuchu in La Plaza San Francisco (Walter Coraza Morveli)

One of the stories tells that Chiriuchu was born in the Aynis (System of reciprocal work) and that after a long day of work, people shared the best food of the home, forming a mixture of different ingredients from the coast, mountains and jungle.

With the arrival of the Spaniards, the cults and rites for religious traditions were replaced. Among these newer forms we have Corpus Cristi, a procession of different patrons and virgins. It is precisely in this Catholic festival where this delicious dish is enjoyed, although you can also eat this in the different picanterías and chicherías throughout the year. In this festivity the Chiriuchu is sold in different points of the city such as San Francisco Square, San Pedro, Santa Ana, in some traditional houses, and in some neighborhoods.

This dish is composed of toasted corn, a slice of cheese, a piece of baked guinea pig, a piece of boiled chicken, cornmeal fritter, and spices, dried meat, algae, fish eggs, guinea pig tullan, and the spicy rocoto.

Cusco is a city with a great culinary tradition, from Cuzco Eats, we invite you to become acquainted with the 10 typical dishes if you are in Cusco or plan to travel to this magnificent city.

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