Bridget Gleeson writer + illustrator

Things I Ate in Peru

In a follow-up to my runaway, practically-went-viral smash – the hard-hitting piece of culinary reporting ‘Things We Ate in Ecuador’ – I present you with the things I ate in Peru.

Like the Ecuadorean round-up, in which the data was largely collected from my annoyingly enviable position onboard a yacht during a weeklong cruise around the Galapagos, this report wasn’t exactly devised on the roadside. A lot of these pictures were taken while I was staying (for work) in high-end hotels in Cusco, Aguas Calientes (also known as the pueblo of Machu Picchu) and the Sacred Valley. When you consume this range and quality of cuisine, night after night, you feel obligated to document some of the dishes.

Especially when you’re traveling alone and there’s no one else to see how beautiful the food is before you shovel it into your mouth.

So. Peruvian breakfast for one, coming right up. In case you’re planning a money’s-no-object vacation or a South American honeymoon, this is at Palacio del Inka in Cusco.

Breakfast at Palacio del Inka

Breakfast in Cusco

(Pineapple and eggs, you say? You’re correct if you think I exhibited a great deal of restraint at this breakfast buffet. Well, Barbie, we’re just getting started.)

Memorable early-morning meals in Peru included breakfast on the Vistadome train (left, including linen tablecloths, mini quinoa pancakes, and my very own fresh flower in a tiny clay pot) and the incredible Peruvian fruits on offer at Sumaq Machu Picchu hotel. I’ve always been crazy about maracuyá (passionfruit), so I was eager to try its more exotic cousin, the granadilla (detail, right.) Oddly, the texture of this fruit, sliced in half and served with a spoon, reminded me of a gelatinous deep-sea creature. But it was delicious.

Desayuno on a train granadilla


I also enjoyed the dried fruit & nut bar at the Hotel Rio Sagrado by Orient-Express (left.) Bonus: I was invited to feed the resident alpacas their breakfast (right.)

Rio Sagrado breakfast

Breakfast for alpacas

Moving right along to lunch, dinner, desserts, and drinks, shall we?

I took a Peruvian cooking class. We made spicy ceviche de trucha, the first fresh trout ceviche I’ve ever tasted, with sweet potato and a variety of Andean corn called chullpi.

There are no words for this dish. The chef is a master.


Which is why I ordered it again for dinner (left.) Followed by adobo de res, a spicy slow-cooked beef stew served with Peruvian pumpkin risotto, and fantasía de lúcuma (right), a frothy mousse-like dessert made from lúcuma, a fruit I first tasted and fell in love with during my travels in Chile.

Dinner at Sumaq

Ah, dessert. Going in for the close-up. In the middle is Suspiro a la limeña, a classic Peruvian meringue, so rich I could barely eat half of it.


You don’t think I’d skip cocktails, right? Of course not. From left to right, a passion-fruit pisco sour in Cusco, a pisco class at Sumaq, and four-for-one pisco promotion in the pueblo of Machu Picchu. (I did not partake in that. Downing four drinks the night before a high-altitude hike? Who does that? Party animals!)

Pisco sours

This was, of course, a lavish sort of trip – I’m sure my future travels and food experiences in Peru will be more down-to-earth.

At the end of the day, I have simple tastes. I just like the chocolates they leave you in the hotel room.


 A hotel room that’s actually an opulent suite featuring a historic 15th-century stone balcony and part of an original Inca wall – that’s all – simple tastes, like I said.