Traditional Peruvian Food

Like many other cultures, Peruvian cuisine is a rich hodge-podge of influences, primarily combining Spanish cuisine with indigenous Peruvian ingredients and with the influx of immigrants were introduced the flavours from China, Italy, West Africa and Japan. For a quick sampling of what this Latin American country offers on its tables, here are some of the food and beverages that Peruvians enjoy:

Anticuchos. A popular street food, this is made of small pieces of marinated meat (most popular is beef heart) and grilled. They typically come with a boiled potato or corn on the end of the skewer, like a shish kabob.

Butifarras. Peru’s version of the ham sandwich, except this is made with a bread roll that is similar to the hamburger bun and the ham is a processed meat product to which is added a spicy sauce of sliced onions, chili peppers, lime, salt, pepper and oil.

Ceviche. A simple dish made with fresh sliced fish or any seafood marinated in lime or lemon, sliced onions, salt and chili. The citrus marinade cooks or “pickles” the fish making it unnecessary to use heat or fire. In Peru, ceviche is typically served with slices of cold sweet potatoes or corn.

Chicha Morada. A sweet, cold and unfermented homemade drink prepared from purple corn (maiz morado), and boiled with pineapple rind, cinnamon and clove.

Lomo Saltado. Another local staple that is made with sliced beef, stir fried with onions, tomatoes, soy sauce, vinegar and chili and served with French fried potatoes and rice.

Tamales. Another popular of Peru food, the tamales is a traditional savoury dish made with masa (a corn-based meal), filled with all kinds of favorite ingredients such as meat, cheese, vegetables, chilies then wrapped in banana leaves and steamed. Depending on the region or village in Peru, the tamales may be wrapped in corn husks and may be bigger or smaller.

Eat Healthy Chinese Food

Some people will write Chinese food off as fatty and full of MSG (Mono Sodium Glutamate). Saturated fats and excess salts are considered bad for the heart and so it follows that Chinese food is unhealthy, right?

Wrong Some Chinese dishes, corrupted to become popular to western palates, fit this bill. Authentic Chinese food is not fatty, and MSG, if used at all, is used sparingly. In fact Chinese food has a long history of being directed towards promoting health; a much longer one than any local ‘fad’ in the west.

Some history

Although united 2000 years ago, China never developed a state system for healthcare until recently. Citizens had to take their own measures when sick, and since these were often too expensive, that meant avoiding sickness in the first place if at all possible.

The first principles of food therapy were established nearly 4000 years ago, though it was only during the Tang Dynasty (608-906 AD) that this form of knowledge became really popular. Four ‘pillars’ were identified as crucial to staying healthy: lifestyle, diet, exercise and mind. Of these diet was considered the most important, probably as it was the one over which people had the most control.

Food plays a central role in Chinese culture. Cooking healthy food for the family is a lifelong profession for most women. Children are brought up with some knowledge of the health properties of their food and dietary restrictions are commonly understood and observed. Eating healthily is almost an obsession and forms an unspoken bond between family members.

Using modern terminology we can identify Grains as equivalent to carbohydrates, vegetables as roughage, fruits as vitamins and minerals and meats as protein.

A balance of 40:40:10:10 is considered ideal, with perhaps some variation in the balance between vegetables and meats.

Note that dairy products do not feature here. Most Chinese do not eat any dairy foods after childhood and, in fact, become intolerant to them as young adults.

It all comes down to what you choose

Bearing just this little bit of knowledge in mind it is possible to order better and more healthy Chinese food. By definition that will also be more authentic Chinese food.