Ceviche, Putting Peruvian Food On The Map
Ceviche has become one of the most recognisable dishes in modern gastronomy, often serving as a gateway to the vast culinary heritage of Peru. And although several countries in South America have their own version, Peru’s has become arguably the most distinct. So much so that it has its own national day on the 28th of June where the whole country prepares and celebrates this dish. It may seem simplistic, but a perfect Ceviche requires a delicate balance of acidity, heat and sweetness.
The history of Ceviche dates back many centuries, it’s believed to have originated over 2000 years ago in the coastal region of Lima, the Mochicas used to prepare and cure fresh fish using a local fruit called tumbo (a kind of native passion fruit), it was with the arrival of the Spanish that limes and onions were eventually added.
With the coming of Japanese migrants at the end of the 19th century ceviche had its final influential change. The techniques and flavours they brought with them from East Asia greatly influenced local food and gave way to the creation of the unique fusion of Peruvian and Japanese cuisine known as Nikkei. Japanese cooks would source the freshest fish, prepare it with the precision and delicacy of sashimi cuts and serve it raw with the lime dressing added seconds before eating.
Food often reflects the history and evolution of a country and its culture, Ceviche takes you across centuries of change, from native beginnings to the introduction of new ingredients through the expansion of empires, to the story of immigrants who sought to make a start somewhere new and have become an integral part of our collective history and traditions. It’s fascinating to be able to trace the influence all of these monumental changes have had through a dish that continues to be celebrated and revered thousands of years later.