Let me tell you about Peruvian-Asian Fusion Cuisine

July 2, 2015

 

I did not know this was a thing.

 

 Eating lunch overlooking Lake Titicaca

 

Peru in particular has a large population of Chinese and Japanese immigrants. A lack of available land and low wages made Peru unattractive to European workers so the Peruvian government began importing Chinese contract labour in the late 1840s.

Thus, Peruvian-Asian fusion was born.

 

Typically, South American food is rather different from Asian. There’s no natural crossover of the two flavour groups that helps to blend the dishes together, so it’s actually a little more like Asian dishes made with local ingredients.

 

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I’m looking at you, spaghetti with soy sauce.

 

 Sushi and beer - can't go wrong

 

But first, I’m going to start with something that did work - Peruvian sushi. A different variety of available ingredients lead to a few taste changes. Sushi in Peru is usually filled with cream cheese, sometimes a chunk of mango and slice of tuna. It’s tasty, if perhaps a little heavier than the Japanese intended. The avocados in South America are perfection. They’re soft and creamy, but just firm enough to be wrapped around the outside of the sushi roll.

 

 Sushi's tricky enough without wrapping it in avocado

 

A long coastline means a wealth of fresh fish but just a quick chef’s note: don’t eat sushi outside of the coastal cities. We often saw fish carried in the luggage compartment of busses which results in some fishy smelling backpacks as well as food poisoning for some.

 

 Fish eggs for sale at Cuzco's market

 

When you’re in Peru’s capital Lima, the affluent suburb Miraflores holds a great little all-you-can-eat-and-drink Mr Sushi bar, on Wednesdays for $20. Lima is a gritty, sprawling city; the heavy traffic and the bland concrete buildings all contributing to make Lima one hell of a boring city to visit. However, you’ll probably will find yourself there at some point so pay a visit to Kitty Park (sorry, Kenedy Park) for some cat petting therapy, or even just to see the peculiar sight of many stray cats in one place.

 

 Korean food in Cuzco

 

Chinese restaurants are everywhere in Peru at around $4 for a wonton soup and main. A new flavour palate was exactly what we needed after a couple of months of fried chicken and beans, even if cinnamon features too heavily in most of the dishes. Peru has an up and coming food scene with no end of distinguished restaurants popping up in Cuzco. Watch this space for more on Peruvian dishes and the leading restaurants to try them.

 

 

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The Travel Natural

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Hey, I'm Emma

Fuelled by wanderlust, curiosity and a little restlessness, a natural at budget travel, so naturally, a travel blogger. An experienced chef, a proud kiwi, and a burgeoning photographer. And my old friends reading and writing? We go way back.

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