top of page
  • Writer's pictureElisa Castagna

Nikkei Food: authentic cultural expression or fading trend?

Nikkei cuisine is considered the fusion of tasty Peruvian tropical ingredients such as quinoa, aji amarillo, red and green chillies that takes shape and flavour thanks to Japanese techniques and skills. A style that find its roots at the dawn of the nineteenth century, but that today has found success internationally.

Among the most expressive dishes of this style we find ceviche: before the Japanese influence manifested itself in Peruvian cuisine, fish (traditionally "corvina") were marinated for hours, often overnight. It's thanks to the Japanese immigrants that the Peruvians learned - to use the words of the Peruvian chef Ricardo Zarate - to treat raw fish in a simpler way, "cooking it with lemon" a few seconds before serving it.

Another battle horse of Nikkei cuisine is the "tiradito", always based on raw fish, cut in a sashimi style but unlike its Japanese cousin it is served seasoned with a spicy sauce.

Japanese and Peruvian culinary tradition met by the strong "desire to feel at home" felt by Japanese immigrants, who reached the Peruvian coasts to seek their fortune in the fertile lands and in the mines of the South American Country.

A style born spontaneously, a sort of evolution of local recipes. This is why Nikkei food style can be considered authentic on its own and not just a trend that is likely to fade away quickly. Indeed, the crossover between Japanese and Peruvian cuisine has led to an unexpectedly perfect fusion as both cuisines share a predilection for fish and seafood, cereals and (to a lesser extent) ingredients such as chilli. The fertile lands of Peru also abound in fruit, vegetables and aromatic herbs; offering a wide choice of ingredients to work with.

While Japanese cuisine is often described as light and pure, the Peruvian influence adds intensity and flavor to Nikkei dishes. “Our native lemons are excellent, but our ajos (chillies) give vigor to the dish; and that's what makes this style so special. The result is an exciting combination, "explains Juan Alfonso Urrutia of the Osaka restaurant, recently positioned as the 47th best restaurant in Latin America.

The charm of Nikkei cuisine is such that it has rapidly become an international culinary driver.

Expression of a philosophy that combines quality, selection, technique with a touch of creativity can be found in Hong Kong - my second home - at TokyoLima, a restaurant and bar open until late at night that brings the casual approach of the Peruvian chef Auturo on the border between Central and Soho, on Lindhurst Terrace. I will always be grateful to Pirata Group for offering us this experience that combines refinement with fun!


bottom of page