Arroz con leche (PEN$1) - rice pudding with a sweet blackberry sauce at a local restaurant in Cusco
I´ve already mentioned how tourists overrun the city of Cusco; much of southern and coastal Perú are also heavily touristed, though not to quite the same degree. In these enclaves of largely light-skinned foreigners, two very distinctive types of restaurants can be found: the local and the touristic.
Local restaurants, which tend to serve grilled meat (lomo saltado), rotisserie chicken (pollo a la brasa), soups and, for lunch, cevice, range in price from PEN$2.50 to PEN$8 (about US$.90 and $2.80, respectively) per person per meal; they´re generally cheapest in small towns. Meals are served menú style: a set price for a starter, generally soup; a main plate, usually meat with rice, potatoes or both; a small dessert, often jello; and sometimes a drink like fruit punch. Often the restaurants give you options for the first two courses, but sometimes they actually only serve one thing, especially the rotisserie chicken places.
The best meals I´ve had in Perú have been at these places, unsurprisingly. My first night, Kiwi Friend and I enjoyed a tasty chicken and rice soup called aguadito, salad, a quarter of a really well-cooked rotisserie chicken and fries for PEN$6.80 each in Arequipa, while only a few blocks away restaurants were charging PEN$20 for just the main course.
During our tour of the Colga Canyon, KF and I escaped the group stops at tourist buffets (PEN$20, not including a drink) and enjoyed one meal in Chivay for PEN$2.50. Homemade meat broth with a variety of potatoes and other vegetables, a rich beef and vegetable stew / chicken and rice (here there was an option, so we ordered differently), jello and a kool-aid-like drink.
Courses one, two and three with a drink
Not all these restaurants are good, of course. It´s hit or miss, and we´ve eaten a lot of untasty fried potatoes. Served with basically every meal, these large-cut fries are cooked less than they would be in the US and often have a mealy taste. At one meal, we were actually given whole potatoes deep fried, which sucked all of the flavor out of them.