Inca Influence on Peruvian Food
There are many foods commonly eaten today in Peru, and throughout the Andean region, that date back thousands of years to the Inca Empire. For example, the super grains maca, quinoa, and kiwicha were all eaten by the Inca. Plus, tubers such as oca and olluco are all still consumed today.
It’s not just the ingredients native to Peru that date back to the ancient Inca times. The methods of preparation and various dishes have also remained the same throughout the millennia. For instance, different meats like guinea pig, llama, partridge, deer, frog, and others are turned into jerky or charqui using the same traditional dehydration techniques. Additionally, shrimp and fish are eaten after being dried with rocks or hot sands. The coastal people traded these foods with the mountain dwellers during the Inca Empire.
Oca and other tubers are mashed and then left to dry in the sun. The resulting sweet tasting dish is called cahui and is still popular with street vendors and in restaurants. Then, there is chuño a special kind of bitter potato that is grown and harvested at more than 4,000 meters above sea level. It is then dehydrated through a complicated process using freezing water.
Quechua Language Still Spoken Today
Quechua was the language of the Inca Empire and it’s still spoken by millions throughout the Andean region. However, even native Spanish speakers in Peru, and throughout South America, know some Quechua words that were absorbed into Spanish. Here are just a few of the common terms with Quechua origins for you to use on your trip to Peru:
- Cancha is from the original Quechua Kancha. Used all over Latin America, it describes the concrete courts in neighborhoods where people play football.
- Poncho is a traditional coat. Textiles in general are another aspect of Inca culture that’s still very much alive in Peru today.
- Carpa means tent. This Quechua word is not only used in Latin America, but even in Spain too. The word was brought back to Europe by the conquistadors.
To become more familiar the influential Inca culture that still remains today, you’re going to want to explore Peru with local guides. At Alpaca Adventures we use local people for all of our Machu Picchu guided tours. To find out more information, contact us today!