Among South American capitals, Lima ranks alongside Rio and Buenos Aires for its selection of places to eat and drink, with restaurants, bars and cafés of every type and size crowding every corner of the city, from expensive hotel dining rooms to tiny, set-meal street stalls. What makes the local cuisine so special is a combination of diverse cultural ingredients (Andean, Spanish, Italian, African and Chinese in particular) alongside perhaps the world’s greatest store of indigenous edible plants, a by-product of Peru’s great biodiversity and range of ecosystems. Having the world’s largest forest and source of plants just on the other side of the Andes, in the Amazon Basin, and a good range of climates, Peru can boast that a lot of its food originated here. This ready availability has helped shape the culinary habits of the modern city, whose citizens take for granted fresh and varied food of great quality. Regardless of class or status, virtually all Limeños eat out regularly – and a meal out usually ends up as an evening’s entertainment in itself.

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