My favourite way to get to know a new place is through its food and what better way to learn about Lima than by taking a Lima food tour with a local.
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A Lima Food Tour
The best way to discover Lima’s food and culture is with a Limeño. A food tour with a Lima local will introduce you to Peru’s vibrant capital on an immersive gastro-cultural tour.
We experienced a fabulous fusion of Lima’s highlights, its quirks, its art, history, neighbourhoods and, of course, a full-on food fest in South America’s gastronomic capital, Lima.
La Lucha Sangucheria Criolla
Our first stop is a Lima institution, La Lucha Sangucheria Criolla, near to Parqe Kennedy. Peru has a massive sandwich culture and La Lucha brings a gourmet touch to it. I’d skipped breakfast so got stuck into a classic ‘butifarra‘ of roast country pork and onion relish with a side of Chicha Morada.
If you go to Peru you have got to try Chicha Morada. This luscious drink made from ckolli purple corn, which grows, in the Andes is the deepest ruby colour. It’s boiled with water, pineapple, apples, cinnamon, cloves and sugar.
It’s how I’d imagine blackberry juice would taste and not in the slightest bit corny. Delicious any time of day.
Tip: If the queues at La Lucha are too long don’t give up hope. There’s a smaller sister shop just opposite where you can get your sarnie fix.
Feeling nicely full and ready to take on Lima we set off for the Barranco district, stopping en-route, at the Love Park.
More like this: Peru on a Plate – Peruvian food and drink you need to try
Parque del Amor, Lima
This little park with colourful mosaics overlooks the Bay of Lima and is a park for lovers. Couples meet here at sunset overlooked by “El Beso” (The Kiss) a statue by Victor Delfín.
The park proved significant as we spent the last couple of days of our trip staying in ‘Second Home B&B’ where Delfin lives and works. We actually got to meet the artist himself. Can’t say the statue is one of my favourites though…
The Barranco, Lima
Barranco sits high on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It’s the bohemian district of Lima which is evident from the colourful street murals and brightly painted colonial houses.
Read more about Lima Street Art in the Barranco
We cross the Bridge of Sighs (Puente de Los Suspiros). The bridge was built in 1876, to cross the gorge and it’s the neighbourhood’s main landmark. Tradition tells that the first time you cross it you should hold your breath and make a wish. If you get to the other side without taking another breath your wish will come true. Can’t tell you what I wished for.
Nearby is la Ermita Chapel. Legend has it that an illuminated cross appeared during a storm guiding local fishermen safely back to shore. The church was built on the site in 1750 to give thanks.
Next we take a short walk to La Bodega Verde for a super food fix to keep our energy levels up. Sitting in the cafe’s walled courtyard we try a Lúcuma smoothie. Lúcuma is native to Peru and looks like a round avocado with a pale orange coloured flesh. It’s sweet and creamy with a hint of caramel. Delicious.
Travelbunny Tip: If you take any kind of tour do it early on in your stay so you can re-visit and spend more time at places you want to see more of.
Origen Tostadores de Café
Time for a coffee and we’re in luck because Peru is one of the world’s top coffee producers. Origen Tostadores de Cafe sells delicious Peruvian organic coffee made by baristas devoted to their craft. We enter the shop and breathe in the aroma of freshly roasted coffee.
Origen Tostadores de Cafe
Cajamarca, an Amazonian coffee, and one from Timbuyacu Farm are picked. As well as choosing the bean you can also chose the method used to brew your coffee. We had one cup of siphoned (the purest way) and the other was a pour-over.
The coffee is amazing. The cafe is buzzing the whole time we are there and there’s a big Star Wars vibe going on. The force is strong in this cafe and the coffee’s excellent. Definitely one of Lima’s hidden gems.
After our coffee fix we hop back in the bus and head to Lima’s historical centre. En-route our guide, David, tells us about his life growing up in Lima and how he’s worked in Cusco and would love to become a Sommelier one day. He’s passionate about food and drink and about sharing his love of Peruvian flavours with visitors to Lima.
Lima’s Historical Center
It’s time to stop eating for a bit and start sight-seeing. The architecture in Lima is eclectic with influences from the Spanish Conquistadors to northern European architects and Churrigueresque.
The Basilica of Nuestra Señora de la Merced below is an example of the latter. Churrigueresque is an elaborate style of architecture where every little space is filled with detail. This is one of the busiest facades that I’ve ever seen.
Suddenly there’s a buzz in the air and a party bursts onto the streets surrounding us in colour, music and dancing. We didn’t know where they came from, where they were going or why they were there but it was an amazing sight to see. I’ll let the pictures do the talking…
Plaza de Armas, Lima
The carnival was gone as quickly as it arrived and we moved on to Lima’s main square. The Plaza da Armas. Lining the square on each side are impressive buildings with an air of colonial elegance. Lima Cathedral dominates one side of the square.
Palacio de Gobierno is home to Peru’s president and we were just in time to catch the changing of the guard.
The Archbishop’s Palace is really eye-catching with its Moorish influenced wooden balconies.
Cala Restaurant, Lima
After our sojourn into the historical centre of Lima it’s time to get back on the food trail and we head to Cala for a late lunch. Cala has a contemporary edge and is one of Lima’s few beachside restaurants.
We have a fabulous table overlooking the ocean. The sunshine beats down, Pacific rollers break onto the shore and we sip Cumbres Quinua beer and peruse the menu.
Understandably, fresh seafood figures highly on the menu and after an amuse bouche of seafood cocktail we decide on a seafood sharing platter for our starter.
The Barranquito comes with rotisserie octopus, shrimps with mango chutney, nikkei scallops and tuna and salmon brochettes. The octopus is some of the best I’ve had; beautifully tender and full of flavour.
For the main course I go for Sea Bass and the boys both choose Lomo Saltado; stir-fried beef with tomato, onion, potato, quail egg, corn and rice. A bottle of Tacama, a crisp Peruvian white wine accompanies.
Dessert was also offer but to be honest there just wasn’t any room for even the tiniest morsel more.
Note: Lunch is no longer part of the tour.
Lima Food Market
A food market is the one place in any city where you get a really insight into the people that live there and the food they eat. It’s our last stop on our Lima food tour and strolled through the stalls watching the locals buy and sell their fresh produce. It was noisy and busy market with loads going on and a lively atmosphere.
A Lima food tour offers a fascinating flavour of the city with forays into hidden gems and insights into Lima’s vibrant food scene.
Many thanks to David our new Limeño friend who kindly hosted us on the fabulous Lima food tour.
For self-guided walking tours of Lima click here