What to Eat in the Jungle

As everywhere else in the diverse Peruvian landscape, the food changes with the geography. As different crops become limited and others more abundant, you’ll find a variety of culinary delights unmatched anywhere else in the world. Backpacking to and from is of course the best way to go about it.

In the jungle, perhaps arriving to Pucallpa, or Puerto Maldonado, or even directly to Iquitos, you’ll find the food pickings to be quite similar. There are a few tasty treat that you simply can’t neglect while you’re staying in your hostel there.

First and foremost is the most present dish in the region, the juane. This is a mix of chicken and rice cooked with turmeric in a banana leaf. It might not have banana inside, but the banana leaf is a hint at the fact that most all jungle food comes with banana. The juane is quite expensive anywhere outside of the jungle, but there it costs around 3 sols. It’s a big leaf bag of goodness.

The gastronomic adventure continues as you make your way to the market to try some river fish. These fish will be grilled over natural coals, fresh from the big body that is the Amazon River. You might choose to try the paiche fish solo with a side of yucca, or you may opt to ingest it with some grilled vegetables as patarashca. They even prepare piranha in a soup called timbuche, if that sounds enticing!

You might find turtle soup, or even Black Caiman, but hunting both is illegal. The Inkicapi soup is another popular dish you should want to savor. Otherwise, the other more popular jungle food is called tacacho. This is a mash of beans and rice formed often into little balls. They’re usually served with cecina or pork. Often the pork pieces are unlikely candidates, like hooves, skin or ears-enjoy!

Among many other treats, you’ll appreciate jungle travel in terms of its cuisine. Not only that, you’ll also fall in love with the incredible variety of fruit that comes out of the Amazonian beast. Try the camu camu and star apple. The cherimoya is particularly sweet, and you can find ice cream in jungle fruit flavors as well (trust me, you’ll need it).