nikkei cuisine

Maido is, without a doubt, the best Nikkei restaurant in the world. (Photo: Maido)


Where to Eat Japanese-Peruvian Nikkei Cusine in Lima

Foodies consider Lima the gastronomic capital of South America, partly due to the wide range of cultures that influence the city’s restaurant scene. Immigrants from Italy, Spain, France, China and Japan came to Peru’s capital and brought their traditions and culinary recipes with them.

One of the delicious results of this multicultural society is Nikkei cuisine, a fusion of Japanese and Peruvian food that is gaining popularity on the global culinary scene.

Although Nikkei cuisine is beginning to leave its mark in North America, famous chef and restaurant owner Nobu Matsuhisa has been sharing his Nikkei-inspired menus with the world since the late 80s.

The beginnings of Nikkei date back to over 100 years ago, towards the end of the nineteenth century, when Japanese immigrants started working in Peru. They brought with them their culinary traditions and their unique style of food presentation, and adapted it to the abundant seafood and wide range of tubers and chilis available in Peru… and a new type of gastronomy was born.

Today, Peru has the second largest Japanese population in South America and a new generation of chefs is continuing to interpret this Japanese-Peruvian culinary story. If you’re planning a trip to Peru, the birthplace of Nikkei cuisine, don’t miss out on these unique restaurants.


Maido is, without a doubt, the best Nikkei restaurant in the world. Chef Mitsuharu Tsumura and his team were not only awarded first place as Latin America’s Best Restaurant in 2017, they also won seventh place in the World’s Best Restaurants in 2018.

Maido has a modern and minimalist decor that radiates energy and urban style. On your first visit, soak up the experience of the Nikkei tasting menu, an exquisite journey through thirteen dishes of Nikkei cuisine.

Other favorites from the menu include the 50-hour short-rib beef with mashed potato and black garlic, the Chiclayo sea urchin rice with avocado cream and grilled baby corn and the Lapas ceviche with chullpi corn and aji amarillo served in a shell.

The desserts at Maido are almost too beautiful to eat, but they are also too delicious to pass up. Leave some room for Reef; a tofu-cheese ice cream, adorned with sweet potato, apple wakame, camu camu and Borgoña tapioca, all served in a glass bowl resembling a terrarium.


Choripan with a Nikkei twist at Maido. (Photo: Maido)

Tzuru Restaurante Nikkei

Jorge Matsuda and Masanobu Hamada called their restaurant “Tzuru” as a tribute to the first Japanese people to arrive in Peru, whose names were misspelled in their documents. “Tsuru” means crane in Japanese and is a cultural symbol of companionship and dedication.

Add a Peruvian twist and you get “Tzuru”, a Japanese philosophy with Peruvian ingredients, which is what Nikkei is all about.

Tzuru offers a varied menu with all the classic dishes that food lovers would hope for from a Japanese restaurant: sushi, sashimi, nigiri, donburimono, tempura and even ramen… all reinvented in the Nikkei style.

Try the Tzuru New Style tiradito, a sliced tuna dish with ponzu sauce, hot sesame oil, aji amarillo and local Andean cheese or surf and embers ceviche, which combines seafood stewed in soy sauce and Japanese mustard with leche de tigre, garnished with fried seaweed.

For dessert, order Fuyu no uta, an ingenious presentation of sesame seed panna cotta with green-tea ice cream, decorated with sugared basil leaves, chopped hazelnuts and ginger honey.

Toshi Nikkei

Toshi Nikkei bears the name of Toshiro Konishi (1953-2016) who was a famous chef and a pioneer of Nikkei cuisine. This was the last restaurant he opened and it has flourished since his passing. Today, chef Santiny de los Santos runs Toshi’s kitchen and offers a world-class Nikkei menu.

If you have already sampled pisco sours, try the house drink, The Oishii; a pisco and sake mix with lychee and mint and a ginger soda. To start, you can go with the Nasu Gyoza, eggplant stuffed with pork and prawns, or the Maca Tobiko scallops; scallops covered with grated maca and red caviar in leche de tigre.

Other popular dishes include Shrimp Nigiris, seasoned and flambéed, and Aburi Salmon Belly, flambéed in garlic and lemon butter. Don’t forget to save room for dessert (rice pudding … Nikkei style of course).