I strongly believe that paying a visit to one of Lima’s local market can make you understand the basis of Peruvian culture. That is why I always suggest travelers to live this experience. This place is where the majority of Limeños make their weekly groceries and go to find fresh products.
During the market visit you will be able to learn about local vegetables and fruits, such as chirimoya, which is the custard apple, granadilla, maracuya (passion fruit), lucuma and all the fabulous and aromatic vegetables and herbs used in Peruvian gastronomy, such as coriander, huacatay, which is a mix of basil, mint, lime and tarragon, and muña. The latter is usually used in herbal tea to cope with digestive and stomach problems. Huacatay is mainly used in soup, meat stew dishes and for the Pachamanca.
You will also have the chance to get to know Peruvian grains and roots such as quinoa, maca and olluco. Quinoa is THE Andean grain with a lot of important nutritional property! Quinoa is now considered a super food, high in protein and fiber and gluten-free. It is most likely used in soup or you can use it to replace steam rice in the daily meal. Olluco is used in a traditional Peruvian dishes called “olluquito”, this is a yellow root with a sweet flavor, ideal to be served with meat dishes. Maca is known as the Peruvian ginseng, is a root with great medicinal property; you can buy maca powder and use it in your juice in the morning, it will help you feel stronger and healthier.
In the local market you do not only find vegetables and fruits, but also meat, chicken and fish. In the market there are also food kiosks that prepare ceviche in front of you and other kind of fresh seafood and menu for very low prices. It is a real experience to see them preparing this traditional dish in front of you.
The visit to the local market is also a way to learn about Peruvian culture, to see the way the stall keepers communicate with clients; you will learn how to negotiate prices with them and how to select fresh products, you will also have a lot of fun in your pursuit of the best ingredients in the market. Basically a visit to a local market is a dive into Peruvian culture and at the end do not be surprise if you are able to speak the basic of Spanish language! LOL! You will learn words such as yapa, which are the additional ingredients that the stall keepers usually give you for free. For example if you buy 250 gr of strawberries they can add two or three for free.
The visit to the market is an important part of our Taste of Peru culinary food, since we believe that this is the best way to get to know local culture, interact with local people and find out on Peruvian ingredients. You cannot visit a gastronomic city like Lima without having a look at one of its main food market. We always suggest visiting Surquillo market, which is located next to the Ricardo Palma intersection in the Miraflores district.