Peruvian Ceviche Declared ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’ by UNESCO

Lead Photo: Credit: gustavo ramirez/Getty Images
Credit: gustavo ramirez/Getty Images
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UNESCO has declared Peruvian ceviche an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The dish, which is typical of Peru and consists of raw fish or seafood marinated in lemon, was added to the list by The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, which just met in Botswana. 

The inscription is specifically for “the practices and meanings associated with the preparation and consumption of ceviche.” The whole point of the list is to safeguard the world’s intangible cultural heritage. 

“It is a cultural practice that is directly related to sustainable development and that values artisanal fishing, the sustainable production of lemon, but also as a representative expression of traditional Peruvian food, sharing, social cohesion and recognition between Peruvians,” the UNESCO representative in Peru, Guiomar Alonso Cano said. 

Other Latin American foods on the list include Haitian Joumou soup, and “Traditional Mexican cuisine – ancestral, ongoing community culture, the Michoacán paradigm.” Recognizable foods from around the world also include Neapolitan pizza and Ukrainian borscht.

For Leslie Urteaga, Culture Ministry of Peru, ceviche’s addition to the list “recognizes all the people involved in the chain of this dish, including artisanal fishermen along the coast and in the Andes and the Amazon, as well as the farmers and chefs.”

There are thousands of different ways to prepare the dish, and often the ingredients depend on what is locally available, but the most common version of the Peruvian ceviche requires white fish marinated in lemon, onions, cilantro and aji pepper. It is sometimes served with sweet potatoes and white corn (choclo).