With lunch being the most important meal of the day, Peruvians don’t make a big fuss about dinner, but it is still an excellent opportunity to indulge in the diverse gastronomy of this country.

While in many parts of the world dinner is the main event, in Peru, lunch is the largest meal of the day and is when families come together to eat and share time. Dinner is usually a much smaller occasion since Peruvians will typically have a quick snack or meal, called lonche, in the afternoon around 5:30 pm. Lonche may involve a quick sandwich, empanadatamal or juane. This will tide them over until they sit down to dinner between 8:00 pm and 10:00 pm.

In many households, dinner, or cena, is just a small meal that is very similar to breakfast in Peru. Oftentimes it will simply consist of an array of bread with ham, cheese and eggs. However, some families will eat whatever is left over from lunch for dinner, either served cold or warmed up. In the Andes, the people tend to eat heavier foods that are either potato- or corn-based to give them energy for a hard day’s work. Since dinner is usually a light meal in Peru, dinnertime portions will be much smaller. In the Amazon, a juane – a mix of rice, meat, olives, egg and spices wrapped in bijao leaves – is commonly consumed for dinner.

Dinnertime in Peru

When families prepare fresh dishes for dinner, those dishes are usually smaller and lighter than the standard lunch fare. However, if a family is preparing a big meal for dinner, it is probably for a holiday or special occasion. In Peru, people celebrate Christmas with a large dinner of pavo calentado – roast turkey. Christmas dinners are a big affair in Peru, featuring a delicious turkey, colorful fresh salads, all sorts of potatoes and, of course, plenty of rice.

Likewise, because dinner at a restaurant is typically a fancy outing, Peruvians generally only dine out for special occasions. In these cases, such as birthdays, anniversaries or dates, it is common to indulge in a larger, heavier meal. Some of the common main courses served for dinner in Peru include a tasty soup, lomo saltadoají de gallinapollo a la brasatacu tacu and arroz con pollo.

Dinnertime in Peru

Moreover, when celebrating a big event, be it a home-cooked meal or a night out at a fancy restaurant, there is always room for desert in Peru – and for good reason. Peruvians understand sweet treats, so between the incredible variety of cakes, merengadosalfajores and turrones, you’ll want to try a bite of dessert no matter how full you are.

Peru is known for its gastronomy, especially seafood dishes like ceviche, so it may surprise you that it is not very common for Peruvians to eat seafood for dinner. While seafood can always be ordered in the upscale restaurants of the country’s capital, the smaller cevicheríasand restaurants that specialize in dishes from the sea will generally close after lunchtime. This is because most restaurants receive their day’s supply of seafood early in the morning and serve it while it is still very fresh at lunchtime. If a small local restaurant is serving dishes like ceviche around the dinner hour, the fish is likely not very fresh – at least not according to a Peruvian.

Dinnertime in Peru

As the gastronomic capital of South America, we know that you’re probably looking forward to having dinner in Peru and will want to eat out as much as possible. While most Peruvians enjoy a very modest dinner hour, there are plenty of restaurants in Lima and throughout the country where you can indulge in traditional dishes and celebrate as if every day is a holiday. At Enigma, we love Peruvian food, so we’d be happy to give you some suggestions or show you our favorite spots to dine.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

*
*