Perú is the world’s second largest fish exporter (behind China) and many of Lima’s most famous dishes are centered around that access to seafood; certainly that includes Perú’s most famous dish: ceviche. It is essentially a spicy, raw fish salad with salt, garlic, onions, and hot Peruvian peppers, all mixed and marinated in lime. The lime denatures the protein, giving the fish a slightly cooked texture. Within Perú there are many variations on the recipe; depending on the recipe, your ceviche could include a touch of milk, passion fruit, orange juice, celery, and many other ingredients. It is usually garnished with a slice of lettuce leaf and accompanied by canchita–kernels of corn–and sweet potato.
Cevicherias–restaurants dedicated to centering their menu around ceviche–are located all over Lima and the rest of Perú. These restaurants are usually only open during the day for lunch, as Peruvians tend to believe that eating cold fish at night can make you sick.
Fish is not the only ingredient that can be used for Peruvian ceviche. In Northern Perú it is common to find black-oyster ceviche, mixed seafood ceviche, and crab and lobster ceviche. In the Andes it is no surprise to find trout ceviche and, at your own risk, chicken ceviche.
It goes without saying that any fish served raw should be spanking fresh, but even in Peru there are no single species that are particularly favored for ceviche. It makes sense to use the local catch and the species used changes depending on availability: inland, freshwater fish such as trout replace the Corvina, sea bass or shark of the coast.