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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.

In return, the Incas introduced the Spanish to a wide variety of potatoes and aji (chili peppers).

As the Spanish gained control, they demanded that the natives grow such European crops as wheat, barley, beans, and carrots.

The Peruvian cuisine largely consists of spicy dishes that originated as a blend of Spanish and indigenous foods.

Such dishes are often referred to as Criolla , or Creole.

Most of the early settlers lived near the coast, where the wet climate allowed for planted seeds to grow.

One of the world's most popular vegetables, papas (potatoes), were first grown in Peru.

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.

The Spanish helped to introduce chicken, pork, and lamb to the Incas.

As European disease struck the Incas and a shortage of labor arose, slaves from Africa were brought over to work on the new plantations.

Africans contributed such foods as picarones (anise-sweetened, deep-fried pastries made from a pumpkin dough), to the Peruvian cuisine, as did Polynesians from the Pacific Islands, the Chinese, and the Japanese.

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