High-powered Japanese execution spiced with Peruvian soul
Claim to fame: Fine dining can be adventurous and crazy delicious at the same time
Reason to go: The dim sum, a dumpling that condenses all the flavor and complexity of traditional Peruvian cuisine into one bite
To look out for: Gorgeously crafted desserts
Nikkei is the name for both Japanese emigrants and their descendants. In Peru it also describes the fusion of Peruvian and Japanese cuisines. It’s not an easy task to combine the bold flavors of ají chili peppers and the delicateness of ancient, oriental technique, but chef Mitsuharu Tsumura, known as Micha, is a fine heir to the legacy built by Peruvian Nikkei chefs such as Rosita Yimura, Humberto Sato, Minoru Kunigami and Dario Matsufuji. Notably, Japanese master Nobu Matsuhisa––who sharpened his knives in Lima back in the 70s when he was a young itamae––has contributed to the robust Peruvian Nikkei tradition.
Maido is considered the best of its kind in Lima, a city with a long, loving relationship with Asian cuisine. The tasting menu, titled “Nikkei experience”, is a tale of tradition and innovation, told through classic Peruvian dishes that are reinvented using Japanese ingredients and techniques. From ceviche to pan con pescado (fried fish sandwich) and chupe de camarones (shrimp stew), everything is chronicled with Micha’s playful imagination. Even his guinea pig (an Andean delicacy) gets a Japanese passport when served with cold harusame noodles. The menu changes constantly, a recent version included a tiny but powerful seafood choripan, a “chorizo sandwich” with octopus- and squid sausage stuffed in a steamed bun.
If you’re not in the mood for a whole tasting menu, Maido also has à la carte options; an impressive variety of Nikkei niguiris and Chef Micha’s own renditions of Peruvian classics like lomo saltado (stir-fried beef) and arroz con pato (duck rice). You can also go full-on Japanese and have the best ramen in town.