Lomo Saltado: A Guide to Peru’s Beef Stir Fry

Lomo saltado

Lomo saltado is one of Peru’s most famous dishes. This staple comfort food is eaten year-round and served on menus across the country. It is a cornerstone of chifa cuisine, which blends Chinese influences with traditional Peruvian cooking.

If Peru is on your bucket list, this is one fare that you MUST try. Read on for the history of this iconic dish, the ingredients used and the best places to sample lomo saltado in Peru. 

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A Guide to Lomo Saltado: Peru’s Ultimate Comfort Food

What is Lomo Saltado?

This traditional dish is essentially the Peruvian answer to a beef stir fry. In true South American fashion, it encompasses two sets of carbohydrates, french fries which are mixed into the stir fry and steamed white rice on the side. Sometimes, lomo saltado will be served with a fried egg on top. 

The meat and vegetables are stir-fried in a marinade of soy sauce and aji amarillo paste. Although lomo saltado originally evolved as part of the growing chifa scene, this iconic dish has now become famous in its own right. 

The name means ‘loin stir fry’. Saltado stems from the French to sauté which is a common cooking method used in Chinese cuisine. There are many saltado dishes in Peru and the large majority of them are influenced by Chinese cooking.

Lomo Saltado Peru
Lomo saltado means ‘loin stir fry’.

Lomo Saltado Ingredients 

Lomo Saltado is traditionally made using the following ingredients:

  • French fries
  • Strips of sirloin steak
  • Tomatoes
  • Red onions
  • Soy sauce
  • White rice
  • Lime juice
  • Aji amarillo*

*Note: Aji amarillo can be difficult to get outside of Peru. Search online or check out your local Latin American food shops to see if you can pick up the paste. If you can’t get hold of aji amarillo, you can substitute it for yellow, orange or red chilli pepper. Be sure to punt for a level of spice that you can handle! 

Lomo saltado
Lomo saltado is often featured on the ‘menú del día’.

Lomo Saltado History

Food historians believe that lomo saltado originated in Peru in the 19th century. It was during this time that the country saw its first influx of Chinese immigrants. The Chinese originally came to Peru to work in the mines, sugar plantations and on the railroads. Many of them also worked as chefs, recreating traditional dishes from home. 

It is believed that lomo saltado was first created in the Chinatown district of Lima. The Chinese chefs there had started to sauté beef in woks that they had brought from home. They began to experiment with their dishes, blending customary spices with locally sourced ingredients. 

Lomo saltado is always served with rice, which acts as a mop to soak up the flavours of the marinade. It is also common to see this dish served alongside a cold serving of Inca Kola, one of the most famous drinks in Peru

How To Make Lomo Saltado

If you’ve followed us for a while, you’ll already know that we are far better at eating food than we are at cooking it. However, the recipe included in the video below looks so simple, that even we are going to give it a go! Watch this space!

YouTube video

Lomo Saltado Variations

As the name indicates, lomo saltado is traditionally made using sirloin steak. However, there are other variations of this dish available. Another which is also commonly seen across Peru is pollo saltado. This substitutes the beef for chicken. 

It is estimated that just 2%-10% of Peru’s population follow a vegetarian diet so it isn’t particularly surprising that veggie-friendly versions of this dish are hard to find in the country. If you want to recreate this dish without the meat, you can substitute the beef for strips of portobello mushroom or a soy alternative instead. 

The stir-fry mix is delicious when piled into a sandwich and enjoyed on the go. Lomo saltado stir-fry is also a popular filling for stuffed peppers and the old South American staple, empanadas.  It is possible to replace the potatoes or french fries with noodles. In this instance, the dish becomes known as tallarin saltado. 

Pollo saltado
Pollo saltado is a popular variation of the traditional lomo saltado.

Where to Eat Lomo Saltado in Peru

Isolina Taberna Peruana

Av. San Martin 101, Barranco, Lima 15063, Peru

Located in Lima’s trendy Barranco district, this restaurant is known for its mouthwatering traditional dishes. It serves generous portions of lomo saltado, famous for its tender meat and flavoursome vegetables. 

Morena Peruvian Kitchen

Esquina con, plaza de armas, Procuradores 320, Cusco 08002, Peru

Situated inside Cusco’s Plaza de Armas, Morena Peruvian Kitchen is undoubtedly one of the best restaurants in the city.  Don’t miss the lomo saltado here, many claim that it is the best they found in Peru. Cilantro haters beware! Morena Peruvian Kitchen uses this ingredient in their version of the dish. 

Pukasoncco Arte y Restaurante

José de San Martín mzna N1 lote 2, Paracas, Peru

Located in backpacker favourite Paracas, this quirky restaurant is known for its colourful artwork. They serve a range of traditional Peruvian dishes here, including the classic lomo saltado. Plant-based travellers will love this place as they even serve a vegan-friendly version! 

Where have you eaten the best Lomo Saltado in Peru? Let us know in the comments!

Sheree Hooker Bio Pic
Sheree Hooker | Editor @ South America Backpacker + Winging The World

Sheree is the awkward British wanderluster behind wingingtheworld.com, a travel blog designed to show that even the most useless of us can travel. Follow Sheree’s adventures as she blunders around the globe, falling into squat toilets, getting into cars with machete men and running away from angry peacocks.

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