Peruvian cuisine is getting its 15 minutes in the spotlight. With tourism to Peru on the rise — and not just to Machu Picchu — Bloomberg reports that hungry visitors are now heading to Lima’s high-end eateries. A recent study by the UN World Tourism Organization claims that at least 42 percent of travelers to the country are coming just to chow down.
So what’s new that they are they feasting on? Nikkei cuisine.
Nikkei is a fusion of Japanese and Peruvian flavors and dates way back to the wave of Japanese immigration in the 19th century. Diners are heading to Lima’s Maido and Tzuru to try out Nikkei-style delights, featuring such mashups as gyoza filled with guinea pig and “pulpo al olivo” (octopus with olive sauce) with newfangled dehydrated olive chips. Nikkei’s allure is also far reaching — a new restaurant in Barcelona called Patka boasts the cuisine.
Amazonian cuisine has recently been defined by local “jungle chef” Pedro Miguel Schiaffino. His restaurant Amaz pays tribute to the tribal life both in decor and flavor. Adventurous eaters yearning for a taste of the jungle can try “juanes”, an Incan tamal made with cassava, duck, eggs and cumin, wrapped in authentic Amazon bijao leaves.
Criollo cuisine is a nod to modest comfort food, but lately it has upped its game in a whole new way in the area. Restaurants specializing in such fare with a modern flare are Isolina in the Barranco district, which serves traditional staples so nice they’ve been named twice, such as “cau cau” (tripe and potato stew) and “tacu tacu” (a patty of rice, beans, meats, and yellow chili) and upscale Panchita in Miraflores, where the “tacu tacu” comes deconstructed, with wood-smoked duck and pickled avocado.
Ceviche, everyone’s favorite standby, is still getting tons of play in the Peruvian food world. From affordable versions served in humble street stalls such as Al Toke Pezin Surquillo and Hijo de Olaya in Miraflores, to far more luxe eateries along Lima’s famed ceviche row, (on or around Avenida La Mar, also in Miraflores) the marinated seafood remains on fleek.