Even though many places offer menus in English words often seem strange and have meanings they don’t to native speakers.
One of these is the word “typical”. It appears in restaurant names and in the descriptions of their offerings. It is so common. And yet it does not have exactly the meaning it does for most English speakers.
To the people of Cuzco the word “typical” suggests food that symbolizes Cuzco. The mere mention of typical dishes brings to mind the city and its region, as well as its calendar of feasts, since many of these dishes are obligatory for certain days of the calendar, much as turkey and cranberry sauce are for an American Thanksgiving.
In what follows we list and describe some of these typical dishes that you can find in Cuzco. They are delicious and stem from Cuzco’s geographic diversity and its traditions. After a brief description of the dishes you will see the titles of articles in Cuzco Eats about these traditional delights. The titles are links to the articles should you wish to know more.
A pork stew made with chicha (corn beer). It is particularly consumed for New Years Day in hopes for good luck in the coming year since the pig symbolizes abundance.
This stew traditionally called “TIMPU”, is eaten in February as part of the celebration of Carnival. It is made from lamb and vegetables.
- Our Carnival Food, Puchero (Thimpu) Can Never Be Missing
- A Recipe de Cuzco’s Traditional Carnival Puchero (Thimpu)
THE TWELVE DISHES OF HOLY WEEK:
As its name indicates, these are twelve dishes that are served on this important time. The dishes stand for the Twelve Apostles and they are prepared on the basis of various fruits, vegetables, and fish. However, they may not contain meat in honor of Christ’s passion.
- The Twelve Dishes of Holy Week and Good Friday
- The Twelve Dishes of Holy Week
- Cuzco’s Twelve Dishes for Holy Week
- The Sweets of Holy Week
- Six Desserts and Companions Needed for Holy Week
Traditional, typical dish consumed in June. It is prepared in rustic ovens made in the countryside in the moment from clods of dirt (kurpas). Its main ingredients are potatoes, sweet potatoes, oca (a native tuber) and uchukuta (a famous Andean hot sauce.
- Huatia, an Ancient and Sophisticated Technology for Cooking
- Baking Potatoes in the Earth on the Solstice
In Quechua, chiriuchu means “cold food”. It consists of small pieces of roasted cuy (guinea pig), boiled chicken, jerky or chalona (a salted, dried meat), sausages, fish eggs, cheese, corn fritters, parched corn, and qochayuyo (dried seaweed), and the rocoto pepper. It is prepared for the feast of Corpus Christi in either May or June.
LECHÓN AND TAMALES
This traditional dish is prepared for the feast of All Saints Day, the first days of the month of November. It consists of young pig roasted in the oven and condimented with yellow hot pepper (ají), garlic, cumin, and onons. It is served with tamales that are made from white corn flour.
While the above are associated with particular dates in the calendar, Cusco has other typical foods that are eaten year round, such as the following.
ROASTED CUY (GUINEA PIG):
This is the most symbolically important dish of the Cusco region. It is prepared for important events. Condimented withwacatay (black mint), garlic, cumin, and salt, the cuy is oven roasted
CHOCLO CON QUESO:
This dish consists of ears of fresh corn, boiled, and served with pieces of fresh, local cheese.
Pieces of pork deep fried in lard, served with fried potatoes in large strips, hominy corn (mote), and a salad of onions with mint.
This is a local soup prepared with pieces of lamb or beef, tripe, bacon, potatoes, squash, white freeze-dried potatoes (moraya), wheat, carrots, and cabbage.
An Andean cream soup made from fresh, ground corn, potatoes, cheese, and eggs. It is seasoned with turmeric.
K’APCHI DE ZETAS :
This is a stew whose ingredients are mushrooms, green broad beans, potatoes, and milk. It is served with rice.
ESCABECHE DE GALLINA O PESCADO :
Pieces of either cooked fish or chicken are pickled in vinager along with boiled onions, cauliflower, carrots, peas, and are served with a dusting of chopped parsley.
SOLTERITO DE CUCHICARA:
A stew of vegetables such as carrots, broad beans, onion, seaweed, and strips of bacon skin.
PICANTE DE TARWI:
This is an energy rich dish made with tarwi (edible lupine seeds). It also has potatoes, cheese, and is seasoned with garlic, hot pepper, onions, mint, and wacatay (black mint). It is served with a toasted and boiled rice.