Customs, Traditional Food

People Eat Chiriuchu while the Saints Process

Cuzco thrills to its feasts all throughout June. One part of the feasts that is important is a dish that people throng to eat, chiriuchu, a cold dish.

To meet the popular demand, Cusco organizes each year a Chiriuchu Festival held in the streets around the Plaza San Francisco on the Wednesday and Thursday of Corpus Christi. The area is packed with more than a hundred vendors, each with their stands and tables under awnings to protect from the very intense sunlight. People fill almost every single available space as they come to enjoy this symbolic dish of Cuzco.

From early in the morning the vendors set up. They heat their ovens and stoves to make the ingredients that must be cooled down in order to enter into this complex dish. It is a mountain of ingredients, from guinea pig to jerky, chicken, sausage, fish eggs, sea weed, cheese, an omelet and hot peppers, among others. They are served in a layered pile, like a mountain, from which people eat.

Chiriuchu Stands by the Plaza San Francisco (Arnold Fernandez Coraza)
Chiriuchu Stands by the Plaza San Francisco (Arnold Fernandez Coraza)

By ten in the morning every thing is Reddy for the feast to begin. At each stand, the ingredients for chiriuchu are piled up and on display in an esthetic way. The vendors will often have passers by try their torrejas, their omelets since from them they can ascertain the taste and quality of the rest of the dish. They can decide if this is the stand for them.

By 11 am the entire area is full. Not only can you hear the sounds of people eating, you hear the music of the religious processions nearby. As one customer leaves others come to take their place at the tables to eat their chiriuchu.

Would You Like some Chiriuchu (Arnold Fernandez Coraza)
Would You Like some Chiriuchu (Arnold Fernandez Coraza)

Each dish of chiriuchu costs 20/S (almost 7$US). To wash it down you can buy beer at around 7/S a bottle. They make a good combination to satisfy us and cool us down in this hot and intense day where the vendors are protagonists in our feast.

This dish brings together ingredients from all the regions of Peru, just as it brings together people from throughout Cuzco.

Enjoy this traditional Cuzco delight. It is an emblem of our city and region.

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