The Spanish helped to introduce chicken, pork, and lamb to the Incas.
In return, the Incas introduced the Spanish to a wide variety of potatoes and aji (chili peppers).
Basic staples of potatoes, corn, rice, and various meats (especially beef and pork) are common ingredients in the highland cuisine.
Choclo con queso (corn on the cob with cheese) and tamales (meat-filled corn dumplings) are popular corn dishes.
Lechón (suckling pig), cuy (guinea pig), chicharrones (deep-fried pork and chicken), and pachamanca (meat cooked over a hot stone pit) are common meat dishes in this area.
Soups containing an abundance of spices, onions, and eggs, as well as freshly caught fish from Lake Titicaca (particularly trout), help satisfy the highlanders' appetites.
Aji (chili) is the most popular spice in Peru and is used in a variety of ways to give food extra flavor.
, small communities were established and the early cultivation of cotton, chili peppers, beans, squash, and maize (similar to corn) began.
Most of the early settlers lived near the coast, where the wet climate allowed for planted seeds to grow.
They took the vegetable back to Europe, where it was slow to gain acceptance.
Europe now cultivates the largest number of potatoes, but Peru continues to produce the largest potato varieties and has been referred to as the "Potato Capital of the World." Potatoes were not the only vegetable in ancient Peru, however. They survived mostly on maize and potatoes that they planted on terraces that they carved out of steep hillsides (which can still be seen today). In 1528, the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro discovered Peru and was intrigued by the riches of the Inca Empire.