Breakfasts in Peru, called desayuno, are often full, flavorful meals that reflect the agriculturally focused traditions of the South American country. Breakfasts incorporate a variety of cuisines drawn from its geographical settings -- the coast, the jungle and the Andean highlands. Spicy bold flavors influenced by Basque and Spanish cuisines combine with earthy Incan grains and root vegetables. Peruvian food blends comforting, meaty dishes with light and bright vegetable elements.
A common sight on the breakfast table in Peru is the simple sandwich, known as sanguche. Originally intended to be eaten on the go or in the fields, sanguche -- especially the chicharron -- are a desayuno staple. Chicharron is a sandwich of fresh bakery buns, deep-fried pork and sweet potatoes, red onion and chili salsa. Other Peruvian sandwiches are the butifarra, a country-style ham sandwich, and the "triple" sandwich, which combines avocado, tomato and egg.
Sweet or Savory Soups
Sopa de te, or tea soup, is a sweet soup of porridge consistency served for breakfast. It combines bread, tea, milk and sugar for a fortifying breakfast that is served at a very hot temperature. Peruvian tea soup is traditionally topped with cloves and a dash of cinnamon, as well as a small circle of buttered bread. Shambar is another Peruvian soup seen at the breakfast table; it consists of wheat, beans, legumes and many types of smoked meat.
Light and Fresh
Peru is the source of indigenous fruits and vegetables served at many a desayuno. Uvilla and uvos are two wild plums that boast the bursting sweetness of lychee and the tart tang of a passion fruit. Palillo fruit has an intense scent and a powerful sweet and sour taste. Vegetables that make an appearance at the Peruvian breakfast include tomatoes and avocados, both of which have been farmed in Peru for centuries.
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Tamales filled with meat and masa, or corn flour; empanadas stuffed with spicy meats; and sweet and crispy churros made of choux pastry are all enjoyed in Peruvian cuisine. Fried banana chips, known as chifle, are bought from street vendors throughout the country. Ceviche, or raw fish in a spicy citrus marinade, is also served at breakfast. The citrus chemically "cooks" the fish over a period of three to six hours, making it safe to consume.
Breakfast beverages in Peru include the not-unexpected coffee, tea and juices, but also the alcoholic national drink of pisco. Pisco is made from grapes grown just south of Peru's capital city of Lima and is served throughout the day. A non-alcoholic option at breakfast is chicha morada, made from purple maize boiled with pineapple, quince and spices.