Peru has been one of the world’s top destinations for gastronomy. This mega country is home to diverse landscapes, which provide some of the most unique and freshest ingredients. Peruvian dishes are flavorful, and its Peruvian breakfast foods are no exception.
After spending several months traveling in Peru, I’ve come across some of the most amazing Peruvian breakfast dishes. Some of these foods are a little more exotic (like using chicken blood) while others are literally just cheese and bread or a sandwich.
If you are traveling Peru and looking for a delicious and hearty breakfast to start your morning, make sure to try one of these dishes!
What is Breakfast in Peru Like?
Before we jump into our list of Peruvian breakfast foods, let’s talk about what breakfast is like in Peru.
Being such as massive country, it shouldn’t surprise you that breakfast foods are different depending on which region of Peru you are in.
For example, pan con Pejerrey, is a sandwich with a small silver fish called Pejerrey, or Argentinian Silverside. This dish is more native to the coastal regions of Peru, simply because you won’t find this kind of fish near the Andean Mountains or the Amazon.
In the Amazon Rainforest of Peru, they use resources from the environment, which means you’ll find more juices, meats, and sometimes even freshwater fishes such as catfishes and piranhas.
Though Peruvian have lots of traditional breakfast foods, many of them stick to a simple start to their morning.
Bread, eggs, jam, fruit, and cheese are the most typical ingredients of breakfast. If you are near a high altitude, you’ll find more people having mate de coca (coca tea) for breakfast. And in lower elevations such as Lima, juices are more common.
Best Peruvian Breakfast Foods
1. Humita or Peruvian Tamales
If you have ever been to Central America, I’m sure you have heard of Tamal. This traditional Mesoamerican dish is made with masa, a nixtamalized corn, and steamed in a banana leaf or corn husk. The filling is usually chicken and pork, but there are plenty of variations you can make.
In Peru, they have their own version of the tamale, which they call the humita. This dish is similar to the Tamala, except for one difference. Instead of using masa as the main ingredient, fresh choclo (Peruvian corn) is used instead.
This is mainly because choclo is native to the Andean region of Peru. Historians believe that the humitas were consumed by the Incas, or at least a variation of it back then.
Humitas are widely consumed in South America, but the Peruvian version adds its own twist.
Depending on what ingredients you add, you can either have a sweet humita or a savory one. And depending on what type of humita it is, you can have it for breakfast with bread or toast on the side, as a snack, or lunchtime dish.
They are a popular Sunday breakfast dish and are typically homemade or purchased from street vendors.
2. Chicharrón con Pan (Pork Rinds Sandwich)
Chicharrón con Pan is a sandwich made of chicharron (pork rinds). The pork rinds are prepared by first boiling them in a pot until they are cooked and tender.
With the rinds boiled, they are fried in a skillet to produce that crunchy texture and drool-inducing scent. Then the pork rinds are cut up and usually served in a sandwich. It is also common to eat them on a plate, alongside some sweet potatoes, fried corn, and maybe even some salsa criolla.
Chicharrón con Pan is easily found throughout the entire country, but it is not uncommon for each region to have its own slight twist. Though a breakfast food, I’ve also had Chicharrón for lunch and dinner. It is one of the dishes that are just perfect any time of the day.
Just be careful with eating too much of it because it is seriously unhealthy, but who cares if you are on a vacation, right?
Butifarra is one of the most common breakfast sandwiches in Peru.
On the surface, it might just look like a typical ham sandwich, and you won’t be exactly incorrect. Butifarra is a sandwich made with slices of jamon del país, a special Peruvian ham that is seasoned with tons of spices.
Combined with salsa criolla and served on rosetta bread, you have something simple and flavorful.
This sandwich is easily found everywhere in Peru – from sandwich shops to street vendors. Don’t forget to give it a try when you are visiting Peru.
4. Queso Fresco
Queso Fresco is unripened cheese with a firm texture. It is common everywhere in Peru and usually accompanied with bread at breakfast. It can also be eaten as a typical Peruvian snack, especially if you have no other option.
Queso Fresco is usually bought at the supermarket or grocery store.
Sangrecita is one of the most exotic traditional Peruvian breakfast foods.
It is a dish made from sauteed chicken blood along with garlic, onions, and other spices and herbs to give it a yummy flavor. Historically, this dish was made using llama’s blood because llamas are native to the region. The Spaniards’ arrival introduced birds such as chicken, which Peruvians now use to make Sangrecita.
It was one of the easiest and cheapest sources of iron, and every part of an animal needs to be used, including the blood.
This type of blood sausage is typically eaten with bread or potatoes in the morning for a hearty breakfast!
6. Salsa Criolla
Salsa Criolla is a type of Peruvian salsa or relish that is made with tomatoes, sliced onion, garlic, chili peppers, herbs like parsley and cilantro, and then seasoned with lime juice.
They are usually served along almost every meal in Peru, including breakfast. This sauce goes well with a lot of the other breakfast foods, such as the Chicharron con Pan, Butifarra, and other types of sandwiches. This sauce is what gives life to many of the dishes in Peru!
7. Pan con Queso
Pan con Queso, or cheese with bread in English, is one of the staple foods for breakfast in Peru. It is exactly as the name suggests, a freshly baked roll with a nice slice of cheese (usually queso fresco) in the middle. It is popular for people that are looking for something quick in the morning.
Of course, most people add things to pan con queso to make it more fulfilling. Things like ham (like jamon del pais) from the Butifarra sandwich or some vegetables are common.
Picarones are commonly known as Peruvian doughnuts because of their shape and taste. Originating from Lima, they are typically made with sweet potato or squash.
The ingredients are mashed and mixed with flour, yeast and sugar to make a dough-like substance. This is then deep-fried to achieve the perfect crispy texture.
The ingredients of Picarones are naturally sweet, but for those with a big sweet tooth, they can dip them in chancaca, a syrup made from sugar cane. If you are looking for a sweet Peruvian breakfast, definitely try some Picarones. Picarones can also be the perfect dessert after a meal!
9. Pan con Pejerrey
Pan con Pejerrey is a typical breakfast dish in the coastal region of Peru. As we mentioned earlier in the article, Pejerrey is a small fish called the Argentinian Silverside, or “king fish”.
The dish is made by coating the fish in batter and then frying it for a crispy texture. Then you add some salsa criolla, lettuce, aji amarillo sauce, and put them between a nice freshly baked bread roll and you have a simple, delicious and nutritious breakfast.
As a seafood lover, I love Pan con Pejerrey. The flavors of the fish balance out the tanginess of the salsa criolla to create a well-rounded dish. Though when it comes to seafood, nothing will ever beat the Peruvian ceviche (the national food of Peru), but that is not a breakfast food, at least not supposed to be.
10. Salchicha Huachana
For the meat-lovers that prefer some meat for breakfast, Salchicha Huachana is a dish you must try. The name Salchicha Huacchana comes from the city of Huacho, a province in Lima where this dish first became popular. And Salchicha is sausage in Spanish.
This dish is composed of ground beef, pork fat, and achiote seeds, which give it its iconic orange color. This food is typically eaten with fried or scrambled eggs and bread.
11. Lomito al Jugo
For those that like Lomo Saltado, one of the most common Peruvian food, then you’ll love the Lomito al Jugo dish for breakfast.
Similar to Lomo Saltado, the dish is made with beef steak, onion, tomato and stir-fried in a wok. But the difference is that you add beef broth or water to the mixture, which makes it a lot juicier, hence the word Jugo (which means juice in English). It is typically served with rice or bread.
Best Peruvian Breakfast Drinks
The breakfast drink in the morning is equally important as the dish itself. Let’s talk about some of the popular Peruvian breakfast drinks!
1. Mate de Coca
Mate de Coca, or Coca Tea in English, is a traditional Peruvian drink that has been around since the Incas. Coca leaves are native to the Andean regions of Peru, and the Incas regarded them as sacred. Only the royalties had access to them at one point.
But now Mate de Coca is one of the most popular drinks in Peru, especially in places with high elevations.
Mate de Coca is drunk throughout the day, but it is the most popular during breakfast because the coca leaves give them a small boast of energy. Some even refer to Mate de Coca as Peruvian Coffee.
For tourists, Mate de Coca is a natural remedy for altitude sickness, which is something you must be careful of if you are doing any hikes in Peru!
Just like the majority of the world, coffee is a popular breakfast beverage and Peru is no exception. Matter of fact, Peru is famous for being one of the top coffee producers around the world. Thanks to its geographically diverse environments, coffee in Peru is rich and bold. It has flavors and depth that appeal to the pickiest coffee connoisseurs.
Emoliente is a herbal tea that is typically drunk during breakfast and lunch. This tea has been popular since colonial times, and depending on the type of ingredients, can help with different types of problems, such as respiratory, circular, digestive and reproductive.
The core ingredients of the Emoliente are roasted grains of barley, medicinal herbal extracts sugar and lemon juice. The most popular herbs used are Andean horsetail, flax, and alfalfa sprouts.
Once upon a time, it was one of the most popular drinks in Lima, and you could almost find an emollient vendor on every corner of the street. Nowadays, though it isn’t that popular, it is still quite common during breakfast.
If you are looking for a healthy drink for breakfast, consider one of the fresh fruit juices. Juice is extremely popular in popular, thanks to the multitude of fruits grown in the country. The most popular ones are papaya, bananas, pineapples, guavas, and maracuya (passion fruit).
You might even find jugo surtido, or assorted juice. This is just a juice with many different fruits.
If you want something more exotic, try jugo especial, which is assorted juice with raw egg and a shot of Peruvian beer!
Peruvian food is one of the best in the world and its breakfast items are no exception. Hopefully, after reading this guide, you have a good understanding of what to expect for breakfast in Peru!
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