Founded by Austrian-German settlers, what are some of the main dishes from Oxapampa? Take a look at the unique culinary offerings.
The jungle town’s environment reaps a cornucopia of products that has made Oxapampa notable for its recipes. Its European heritage (the humid city was founded by German settlers in 1891) yields an idiosyncratic fusion of local produce with old world cooking techniques. The prominent coffee, cattle-rearing and dairy industries further add to this. So we were very curious to taste some of the main dishes from Oxapampa.
“We have shtrukala, carbonalathala, shitalan, gransala….,” reels off Cathi Mesa, as she names typical dishes of her native Oxapampa, a mountain city in Peru’s ‘eyebrow of the jungle’ or ceja de selva.
Honestly, some of the names of the main dishes from Oxapampa sound more related to the Yiddish language than Spanish. But here we are, just 550km northeast of Lima.
“The dishes have a taste of the Austrian-German cuisine, coming from the settlers who arrived here in the nineteenth century,” she continues.
That explained the odd Germanic sounds that jarred with the clear Spanish of the tourism executive, as we talked at the launch of Selvámonos, Peru’s most-anticipated music festival this month in Oxapampa.
The city of 8,550 in the Pasco region lies in an area of rich biodiversity. At 1,830 meters above sea level, it’s situated in a cloud forest that nourishes the thick vegetation. Yellow-tailed monkeys, spectacled bears, and more than 100 types of orchid are neighbors to the jungle town.
Below are the main dishes from Oxapampa. Take note that the suffix ‘la’ is a Peruvian innovation to make the Austrian-German words more familiar to Spanish speakers.
Made with banana, not apple as customary, this dessert is a firm favorite. The pastry is made with eggs, milk, and crushed banana to then be cooked in the oven to give its brown shine. It’s an example of improvising with the superabundance of the jungle to substitute unavailable foods from home.
A salty meatball dish with a soy sauce seasoned with garlic, pepper and a little cornflower.
This is the most representative dish of the area. It’s pork, with yellow yucca and potatoes, wrapped in banana leaves. The pork is seasoned with salt, garlic, and an herb called chincho. The delicacy is cooked on a circle of stones above an open fire.
Fritters (galletas y torrejitas)
Sticks deep-fried in batter that taste like un-sugared doughnuts are common.
Chicken soup (sopa de shitalan)
A base of flour and eggs is added to the soup with noodles. It’s boiled for a short time then served.
This article was originally published in 2017 has since been updated.
Now that you're here:
We're asking you, our reader, to make a contribution in support of our digital guide in order to keep informing, updating and inspiring people to visit Peru. Why now? In our near 20-year journey as the leading English-language source on travel in Peru, we've had our fair share of ups and downs-but nothing quite like the challenges brought forth in the first quarter of 2020.
By adapting to the changing face of the tourism and travel industry (on both local and international levels), we have no doubt we will come out stronger-especially with the support of our community. Because you will travel again, and we will be ready to show you the best of Peru.
Your financial support means we can keep sharing the best of Peru through high-quality stories, videos and insights provided by our dedicated team of contributors and editors based in Peru. And of course, We are here to answer your questions and help whenever you need us.
As well, it makes possible our commitment to support local and small businesses that make your visit an unforgettable one. Your support will help the people working in these industries get back on their feet once the world allows us to make our dream of enjoying everything Peru has to offer a reality again-from its mouthwatering gastronomy, thriving Amazon and archaeological wonders such as Machu Picchu.
Together, we will find a way through this. As a member of our community, your contribution, however big or small, is valuable.