After the pandemic, inflation hits the famous Peruvian gastronomy

The chef and owner of the “Aroma de Mar” restaurant in Lima was confident that business would pick up this year, but his hopes evaporated.

“In different crises we have been the hardest hit sector,” chef Roberto Madrid tells AFP with regret, noting that Peruvian gastronomy first suffered the negative impact of the pandemic and now that of food price hikes, a aftermath of the war in Ukraine.

After operating in 2020 and 2021 with reduced capacity due to the pandemic, Peruvian restaurants returned to full capacity on February 28. But sales did not increase, but rather fell due to runaway inflation.

Food prices rose 5.88% in the last two months in Peru, according to official figures, the highest increase in three decades. Until the pandemic, inflation was around 2% per year.

The strong price increases affect the pockets of Peruvians and evoke the hyperinflation of the 1980s.

“There are people [clientes]but consumption has dropped tremendously to 20% or 30%,” the president of the Association of Hotels and Restaurants of Peru, Blanca Chávez, told AFP.

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“The situation is very sad, chaotic, I don’t know how to express my desperation,” he adds, expressing his fear that many restaurants will lower their curtains.

In 2019, there were 220,000 restaurants in Peru, according to the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism. With the pandemic they closed almost half, according to Chávez.

– Culinary offer –

In Lima there are two of the ten best restaurants in the world, according to the World’s 50 list: Central and Maido. But each humble neighborhood also has its good restaurants, because Peruvians of all social classes love good food.

In the varied culinary offer, the cebiche -raw marinated fish-, the lomo saltado -beef with onion, French fries and rice-, the ají de gallina -thick cream with frayed chicken- or the papas a la huancaína -baked potatoes with a creamy cheese and chili sauce-, along with the famous pisco sour cocktail and a variety of Andean cereals and seafood.

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A plate of cebiche costs between nine and twelve dollars in all of Lima. In the case of lomo saltado and other dishes, there are big price differences: in the neighborhoods it costs about eight dollars, but in the tourist district of Miraflores it costs twice as much.

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