Food is an important part of any celebration here in Peru. During the festival season here in June, there is no shortage of good eats on the streets of Cusco. But the most important festival food is a dish called Chiriuchu, which literally translates to “cold dish”.
During the days of Corpus Christi, the Plaza de San Francisco fills with tents and tables piled high with the components of Chiriuchu. And everyone in town flocks there to enjoy this very traditional dish. Everyone seems to have their favorite stand or favorite cook. The wait for a table can be considerable, especially on the Thursday of Corpus Christi as the parade comes to an end.
Chiriuchu brings together foods from all the different regions of Peru. There is Cuy (Roasted Guinea Pig), roast chicken, a jerky, a sausage, a slice of traditional farmer’s cheese, a type of algae, fish eggs, a torreja (a type of omelette), and cancha (toasted, crunchy corn kernels). It is served cold, with all the components piled high on a plate and topped off with a slice of spicy rocoto pepper. You eat it all with your hands and typically wash it down with a Cusquena beer.
I have to say that it was pretty good overall, although there are certain things that were not my favorites. But it was a lot of fun to squeeze into a small table with our local friends and share in this very important Cusco festival tradition.