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Peru Exotic Food: Uncommon Native Dishes in the Amazon

Peru Exotic Food: Uncommon Native Dishes in the Amazon

Peruvian gastronomy is known for its elegance and delicacy, but the country also offers a wide range of local cuisines thanks to its diversity of ecosystems. Among these, jungle food stands out for its extravagance and rarity within the Peruvian gastronomic boom. Here you will find little-known local dishes that offer new culinary experiences. Although many have enjoyed traditional Peruvian cuisine, few know the dishes of the jungle. That’s why exploring these foodie destinations and sampling their signature dishes can be a fascinating experience. In this sense, we are going to talk about 6 exotic foods from the Peruvian jungle that are sure to surprise travelers.

1 Giant Snail, the Churo

This huge river snail, known as Churo in the Amazon rainforest, has a shell that is used as the base or main ingredient in the preparation of a vegetable soup that includes chili peppers, tomatoes and onions.

Although it may seem strange, in certain European countries snails are considered an exquisite delicacy, especially when it comes to seafood.

Although Churo is typical of rivers, some gourmet restaurants in Lima have incorporated this type of snail into their dishes.

Giant Snail, the Churo

2 Suri’s Anticuchos

In cities like Iquitos and Pucallpa, close to the Amazon rainforest, Suri’s anticuchos are a popular delicacy. These palm worms, called Suri, are eaten fried, roasted, and even raw due to their large size.

Suri's Anticucho

3 Amazonian Ants

In the province of San Martín, specifically in Moyobamba, giant ants, known as Siquisapas, are considered a delicacy. These ants are enjoyed as a sought-after snack, both as an appetizer for main courses or as an accompaniment to exotic drinks. Despite their insectivorous nature, Siquisapas are valued for their peculiar aroma and flavor, and can be found in various culinary preparations, from appetizers to pizzas and cocktails.

4 Zarahemla of Zarahemla

In many regions of South America, the turtle is prized as a delicacy, and Peru is no exception. In the wetter areas of the Peruvian Amazon, as home to the motel turtle, this species is an important part of the local diet and represents a dish that should not be overlooked when visiting the region.

The meat in this is cooked in a variety of ways, from grilling to in stews. One of the standout dishes is the Zarapa soup, which is prepared inside the animal’s shell and served with grated banana as an accompaniment.

Zarahemla of Zarahemla

5 Lizard meat and pork rinds

In Iquitos, the capital of Loreto and a prominent tourist destination in the Amazon region, lizard meat is a popular dish among locals and visitors alike. It can be enjoyed in various presentations, such as pork rinds or grilled, often accompanied by other proteins such as venison, chicken or seafood.

Lizard meat and pork rinds

6 Meat Mazamorra

Mazamorra morada, a popular sweet in Peru, has an exotic version in the Amazon, made with meat from monkeys, tapirs, armadillos or even sloth bears, depending on the season. This thick soup is served with grated green plantain and accompanied by roasted yucca and chili pepper. Currently, the preparation is done with farmed animals due to the ban on the sale of exotic creatures.


In conclusion, the culinary diversity of the Peruvian Amazon offers a unique and fascinating gastronomic experience. Rare native dishes such as Churo, Suri anticuchos, Amazonian ants, Zarapa soup, lizard meat and pork rinds, and meat mazamorra represent the richness of jungle cuisine. These delicacies, while little known outside the region, offer a variety of exotic flavors that should not be overlooked when visiting the region. The creativity in the preparation of these dishes, using local ingredients such as snails, insects and wild animals, reflects the deep connection between culture and nature in the Peruvian Amazon.

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