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Peru is fast-gaining a spot in international culinary conversations. It is home to dishes and flavours that are unique to the region, and not found anywhere else. Few places offer such diversity of ingredients, of flavours and techniques. With influences from Europe, Africa and East Asia, Peruvian cuisine has seamlessly integrated its ancient cuisine into something new and utterly unique with these foreign influences. Here are some of the most spectacular things to eat when you're in Peru. Ceviche: The chilly Humboldt Current flows just off Peru's coastline and sustains some of the world's most profuse cradles of seafood. Ceviche, the unofficial “national dish” of Peru, is composed of raw fish marinated with citrus juice. It is the acid in the fruit that lends it an elusive flavour and a mildly chewy texture as it cooks the fish. Flavoured with red onions and aji peppers, it is typically served with sweet potato and white corn for lunch. The leftover marinade – which you can drink – is known as leche de tigre, or tiger’s milk. Loma Saltado Chinese immigrants who arrived in Peru looking for work brought their ingredients and techniques to Peru's culinary repertoire. With stir-fried beef, tomato, peppers and onions, which are cooked with soy sauce and served over white rice, this dish has clear Asian roots. Rocoto Relleno Here, fiery capsicums are stuffed with spiced, sautéed ground beef and hard-boiled egg, then topped with melted white cheese, baked and then served whole. Alpaca Here in the Andean highlands, this dish refers to meat from the camelid, a lesser relative of the llama. Similar to the flavour of buffalo, but gamier and lean, this meat makes for superb jerky - an early Peruvian culinary device. Lucuma Peruvians have a strong sweet tooth, and Lucuma refers to a tree fruit, which is similar to a mango, but with a more custard-like flavour. It is used to flavour dessert and ice creams. If you’re a gourmand, a visit to Peru must be on the cards. There is nothing quite like sampling local flavours in their homeland.
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