Guide to Peruvian Food: Causa

Peru with flavour

Peruvian food is now well established on the world’s gastronomic map. With Michelin-starred restaurants in Lima and cities across the world, more people are getting to know the culinary delights of Peru.

While it’s great to sample food from a distant country in your own city, nothing beats culinary travel -getting to know a country through your taste buds. In this culinary blog series, we’ll introduce you to some of Peru’s iconic dishes that will have you booking a flight and a table for as soon as you land!

Causa – so much more than mashed potato

The potato. Most people know that this humble root hails from Peru. The country boasts nearly 3,000 varieties in all shapes, sizes and subtle flavour distinctions, so it’s not surprising that potato is a staple of Peruvian cuisine, and used in many dishes.

When you think of mashed potatoes, you often think of a dish that’s heavy, starchy and certainly served hot. So encountering causa is a surprise for all your senses. First of all, who would have known that mashed potatoes can be so aesthetically pleasing! Causa features tuna or chicken, layered with silky smooth mashed potato and a vegetable layer, often avocado. The colourful layers are often topped with drizzles of sauces, and other vibrant garnishes.

Taking a taste leads to more surprises. Causa is served cold, and the layers are flavoured with delicate hints of lime and aji amarillo – the delightfully flavoursome orange chilli pepper that is ubiquitous to Peruvian cuisine. The result is light, refreshingly lifting flavours. Nothing of the heaviness or blandness you might expect from mashed potatoes. A bite that cuts through the layers, results in an explosion of flavours in your mouth.

Causa is a Limeño classic, enjoyed especially in the summer, often as a shared appetizer before the main course. You’ll find it difficult to find two the same, as illustrated in our photos. Sometimes you’ll be presented with a causa log, to slice and share, often a singular round causa, and sometimes a trio of intricate and exquisitely presented masterpieces, that almost breaks your heart to cut into! This is one of the great things about the ever-evolving Peruvian fusion cuisine. Each chef takes classic recipes and puts their own twist on it.

If you want to know the best places to taste causa in Peru, download our free culinary guide with restaurant recommendations, a guide to all the Peruvian dishes you must try and more.

Ready to take a bite? Aracari Travel specialises in culinary travel. Have a look at our 10 day Peru With Flavour Itinerary, and contact us to start planning your trip – travel@aracari.com

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