One thing that stands out in Cusco Peru is the FOOD. Seems like there’s a fierce culinary competition and every restaurant plays the game. It’s probably because Cusco is a major tourist town, and they know that they have to cater to fickle, hungry American and European tourists who just got done with a 4 day hike?
Within 2 blocks of my hotel, there are 3-6 restaurants that are amazing! Even the hotel restaurant, Siete y Siete offers some stunning dishes like the red quinoa salad (pictured above) with avocados, tomatoes, carrots, Andean cheese, etc.
Quinoa is a big thing in Peru and Bolivia and I love it...except when they don't wash it well enough and I feel like I'm chewing on beach sand. No bueno.
One of my faves: La Boheme (or La Bo'M): a creperie that’s part of the Backpacker La Boheme Hostal. I go here pretty much every other day and get crepes.
The ‘La Rafas’ crepe is one of my faves: Blue Cheese, Local Cheese, Walnuts, Mesclun, Tomatoes and Olive Oil. Their crepes are always perfectly crispy on the outside. And I almost always get either the Refresco Del Dia, or Jugo Del Dia to go with it. The Refrescos are usually made with tropical fruits like pineapples, papaya, maracuya, mango, etc. Delicious and light!
Another favorite of mine: Juanito’s, a sandwich shop. No big deal, right? No, BIG, HUGE DEAL. The Hawayan de Lechon sandwich, which is listed as a special, is easily the best pork sandwich I’ve ever had in my life. Sliced, succulent pork and pineapple on a baguette, dripping with pork juice. They serve it to you with your choice of about 8 different sauces. I usually go with the pineapple sauce, and the aioli or, the chimichurri. The bread is crispy, the juices are flowing and the flavors are bursting. Outstanding!
Oh and of course, I usually get it with an Inca Kola. (Think of it like a Bubble Gum Mountain Dew!)
I probably should mention that in Peru and other South American countries, they eat guinea pig, aka cuy. It's high in protein, low in fat, they reproduce quickly and require little room to raise. We did go out one night and I did try guinea pig. (Sorry to anyone who has guinea pig pets, but "when in Cusco" as they say) It doesn't really have much meat on it, and it requires work to get the meat out, kinda like eating crab. To me, it's not worth it. I'll stick to eating alpaca or llama.
One thing I will guarantee. If you go to Cusco --- you are in for a scrumptious culinar-ay-cation!