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Cancacho: Puno’s Typical Dish

  • Published on Oct 24, 2016 Culture
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The exquisite Peruvian cuisine remains at the top best cuisine in the world. The culinary art from the highlands shows a variety of typical dishes, made with simple and natural ingredients. The Peruvian and European gastronomic fusion has grown richer over the years, empowering Puno’s regional food.

Cancacho is a typical dish from Ayaviri town, the livestock capital of Puno. The name of this dish means roast lamb and is cooked in a wood-fired brick oven. Its main ingredients are male lamb meat, native potatoes, chili, and black beer.

The history and origin of the Puno’s typical dish Cancacho

Cancacho’s main ingredient is lamb, but not any lamb; it must be Ayaviri’s lamb.  There is something about the lamb being born and raised at above 4000 m.a.s.l. that gives Cancacho preparation that exquisite taste.  That unique and special taste is due to the lamb being fed only on ichu (Peruvian feather grass) and saline water coming from the Puna highlands.

Puno is not the only place where you can try this dish; you also can at the pincanterías de Doña Julia (a chain of restaurants specialized in spicy food) all across Cusco and Arequipa, for more than 40 years, using the original recipe which includes lamb directly from Ayaviri town. Preparation of this delicacy is passed on from generation to generation and Ms. Julia Luna (Doña Julia) is well aware of it, keeping the preparation of this native dish alive.

What do you need to prepare Cancacho?


  • Male lamb from Ayaviri town.
  • Black beer.
  • Lemons.
  • Dried red chili.
  • Oregano.
  • Salt, cumin and pepper to taste.



Marinate the lamb the night before, soaking the meat in a bowl filled with a marinade of dried red chili, black beer, cumin, and garlic; and leave to stand until all the seasoning mixes up with the meat. The next day, after having let the meat stand, oregano is added and the Cancacho is put into the oven. The lamb meat is cooked for approximately two hours to brown it out. You can add boiled native potatoes and ají (chili sauce).

This millenary and delicious Cancacho will get you fascinated! Don’t miss your chance to try it!

  • Cañon-de-Tinajani-Ayaviri
  • Ayaviri

Sources: Comida peruanas, De arte y cultura, Puno cultura, arte y desarrollo.

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