Peru’s ‘hearty’ street food snack now served at Lima’s top restaurants

Anticuchos go back to the Inca empire but celebrity chefs such as Gastón Acurio are giving the sliced beef heart snack a modern twist

Aromatic smoke wafting from a grill on a Lima street can only mean one thing: anticuchos, the city’s favourite night-time snack of sliced meat – traditionally beef heart, marinated in ají panca (a hot, smoky chilli), cumin, black pepper, garlic and vinegar – skewered and grilled.

The Inca take on kebabs was made with llama, but in the 1500s the Spanish brought African slaves and new ingredients, including cattle and spices. And it was the slaves who created today’s anticuchos, taking inspiration from heavily seasoned Andean meat as they thought up ways to cook the offal the Spaniards wouldn’t eat.

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