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Arequipa is heaven when it comes to street food and you won’t feel hungry unless you are vegetarian. This list focuses simply just on street food, so I don’t mention typical must-try dishes from Arequipa like Adobo, Chupe de Camarones, or Soltero de Queso, which you can find mostly in restaurants. But for the street food, you have to go either to the streets (obviously) or to the local markets. I didn’t order this list starting with the best food, but from the most typical for Arequipa to food that you can find almost everywhere in Peru.

Rocoto Relleno

There is no more typical dish from Arequipa than this one. The stuffed peppers can be found also in the markets and the dish is originally from Spain, but in Peru, the peppers were replaced with more spicy ones, called rocoto. These peppers are ten times spicier than raw jalapeños, so they had to be cooked in water and vinegar to remove the spiciness. Peppers are usually filled with minced meat, garlic, and onion, and topped with melted cheese.


Pastel de Papa

Rocoto Relleno is served always with this type of potato cake. There is another typical potato cake called Causa, but Pastel de Papa is a different one, specifically from Arequipa. It’s usually prepared from cheese called queso serrano. Another layer is made just from eggs and milk.


Queso helado 

There is no more typical dessert from Arequipa than queso helado, literally translated, as frozen cheese. But in fact, it has nothing to do with cheese. It consists of evaporated milk, cream milk, condensed milk, cloves, cinnamon, and coconut. You will see this everywhere on the streets, but the best spot is in Yanahuara. Sellers usually keep it in wood barrels with a plastic bucket inside.



It’s a type of empanada filled with a juicy mix of meat, onions, and some vegetables. Salteñas are originally from Bolivia, but they are really popular in Arequipa as well. You can find the best spot outside the San Camilo market just for S/1.



My favorite tamales of whole Peru are from Arequipa. In Lima, there are great as well, but here in Arequipa, they make it really special. The left one is filled with rocoto relleno sauce, typical for Arequipa, and the right one with Ají de Gallina another traditional dish from Peru. Tamale is actually masa that is made from corn flour. In Arequipa, they mix it also with cilantro so the whole tamal is green.


Lechon Sandwich

There are many types of sandwiches all around Peru. This one is filled with a leg of pork and sarsa criolla, which is an onion with tomato, salt, and lime juice.


Chicharron Sandwich 

And talking about the sandwiches here is another one. A slice of succulent deep-fried pork with sarsa criolla. It’s really juicy and heavy as well. In a market, you will pay for it around S/8.



Peruvians love chicharrón and there is no way they wouldn’t make a whole dish from it. Typically, it’s served with boiled potatoes or chips, cancha (toasted corn), boiled Peruvian corn, and sarsa criolla.


Papa rellena 

Papa rellena means a stuffed potato and it’s basically known all over Peru. Usually is filled with minced meat, vegetables, onion, and pepper paste from special Peruvian peppers. In every place they make it slightly different, sometimes they put cabbage on top and mayonnaise. You can find also a vegetarian version.



Very popular in Peru as well, and of course, you can find empanadas in Europe and in other countries in South America, but these ones have a special Peruvian touch. In Peru, you can find mostly empanadas filled with beef, chicken meat, ham, and cheese, or only cheese. There are some places where they fill empanadas with traditional Peruvian dishes, such as Lomo Saltado, or Ají de Gallina.



Okay, this is a very simple one. A sandwich filled with tomato, lettuce, potato chips fries, and chorizo (sausage), from which it got this name. Here, they cut a sausage in the way to make it flat and fry it so it gets a bit of crispy flavor.


Breakfast sandwiches

Simple breakfast sandwiches are easy to find everywhere, but they use different bread depending on the region. In Cusco, they have a traditional bread that is a bit sweeter, but here in Arequipa is obviously used bread with faces (just kidding). The filling is the same everywhere, whether it’s avocado, scrambled eggs, cheese, or meat.


And this is it! If you love street food, I also wrote an article about typical street food in Cusco.

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