LIMA, Dec 7 — The United Nations cultural agency on Wednesday declared Peruvian ceviche — an ancient marinated seafood dish — part of humanity’s intangible cultural heritage.

The food, which can vary regionally based on what types of fish are available, was first eaten in the area now known as Peru starting more than 2,000 years ago, according to local anthropologists.

Unesco announced the designation on X, formerly known as Twitter: “New inscription on the #IntangibleHeritage List: Practices and meanings associated with the preparation and consumption of ceviche, an expression of Peruvian traditional cuisine.”

The news came during this week’s Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in Botswana, where Italian opera singing, Bangladeshi rickshaw painting, Uzbek ceramic crafts and several other customs and traditions were also named to the intangible heritage list.

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The Peruvian government cheered ceviche’s addition to the list, with the culture ministry saying it “recognises all the people involved in the chain of this dish, including artisanal fishermen along the coast and in the Andes and the Amazon, and the farmers and chefs.”

According to chef Javier Vargas, head of Peru’s Association of Seafood Restaurant Owners, there are at least 1,000 different ways to prepare ceviche.

The dish, central to Peruvian cuisine, can be made with fish caught from the sea, with river and lake trout in the mountains and with pirarucu or tilapia raised in jungle lagoons.

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Each region also uses its own vegetables, spices, herbs and citrus to mix in and serve with the fish, which is often raw. — AFP