Enjoy Japanese-Peruvian food at Nikkei
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Enjoy Japanese-Peruvian food at Nikkei


If you are a discerning foodie and would like to experience  a new cuisine, here is your chance. Nikkei, a home-grown restaurant just opened its doors to the public at the ground floor of the Podium mall. It is the 3rd branch following the success of its pilot restaurant in Legaspi village and its second branch at  Rockwell

WHAT IS NIKKEI?

Nikkei is derived from the word 'Nikkeijin" which means  people of Japanese descent born and raised outside Japan. It is a word commonly used in Japan to refer to people of  Japanese ancestry who are living abroad as citizens of another country

Nikkei in food though means  the confluence of two diverse cuisines resulting in a new cuisine called Japanese-Peruvian.

My first exposure to this remarkable marriage  of Latin and Asian, was  in Nobu Manila at the City of Dreams months ago.

Fascinated by the  potentially rich back story of the  cuisine, I googled its history.

It turned out Japanese started immigrating to Peru as early as the late  19th century lured by rumors that Peru is a country full of gold, with mild climate, fertile lands, in short a paradise. Employment in Japan then was very difficult due to  poor economy of  Japan consequently resulting in the surplus of farmers. So, many Japanese took their chance and flew to the opposite side of the world  in Peru , where the regular wages where much higher than  in Japan.

That was the beginning  of the Japanese immigration. To date, Peru has the second largest  ethnic Japanese population in South America second only to Brazil.

Obviously the presence of  Japanese in Peruvian life  had quite an impact  socio-culturally .   You have intermarriages and naturally a sharing of   each individual's practices and traditions including culinary customs

What is remarkable  was the common veins these two cultures have.  There is the love for raw fish ie sashimi for the Japanese and ceviche for the Peruvians.

Last  Thursday , I was afforded an opportunity to  delve deeper into this fascinating  amalgamation of two cuisines via  an invitation to a foodie meet up at Nikkei via Zomato PH

APPETIZERS


 POMELITO P225
Tuna, Passion fruit, caramelized
 sunflower seeds, pomelo, mango

If in ceviche you marinate the cubed fish in lemon for a few hours to "cook", In TIRADITO, you only put the acid to the sliced fish (like sashimi) just before serving. Hence the sliced fish is "raw". 


TUNA LATKE P320
Potato pancake, seared tuna, huancaina sauce, cilantro , lemon

This  is actually a Peruvian version of a popular Hanukkah dish apparently, LATKE   is a pancake made out of grated potato usually eaten with huancaina sauce. Per google , HUANCAINA  sauce is generally made  of onion and garlic, queso fresco (ricotta), milk, olive oil, hardboiled eggs, olives. See that small dollop of yellowish cream on the tuna ?


CAUSA APPETIZERS
Peruvian Soft Mashed Potato Bites

Now here's something I can replicate at home.  Another way to impress the hubby and the piggery with  hahaha

Potatoes are staple food in the Peruvian cuisine along with corn and other tubers. So do not be surprised if you find  potatoes in most dishes.

Per my research, CAUSA   is prepared like a round cake with alternating layers of mashed potatoes and filling ie chicken, tuna or what have you.   You can serve it traditionally or Nikkei-style  resembling a sushi. Wonderful isnt it ?

Below are list of  toppings/fillings you can incorporate in the dish They were all so good. Please do not ask me which one is my most favorite.

WAGYU P250
guacamole, wagyu, lemon, chalaquuita,  Togarashi

EBI  P180
Guacamole, prawns , rocoto sauce, togarashi

TAKO  P180
Guacamole, octopus confit, panka-miso sauce, chives

FISH  P180
Guacamole, white fish marinated in soy sauce, cilantro emulsion

SALMON  P180
Guacamole, salmon tartar,  chalaquita , sesame oil, togarashi

CEVICHES
Raw  fish or  seafood marinated in Leche de Tigre



CLASSIC P320

White fish, red onionWhite fshs, rocotto, cilantro, conchita, glazed sweet potatoes. Kilawin vs Ceviche? Our local kilawin makes use of vinegar while ceviche makes use of lemon or lime for acidity. Both make use of  absolutely fresh fish or seafood . Note the sweet potato in Nikkei's  Classic Ceviche


SMOKED CHILI CEVICHE P395

White fish, octopus and prawns, smoked rocoto sauce, cucumber, cilantro and crispy quinoa. Rocoto is hot pepper which looks like your regular bell pepper but hotter.



YELLOW PEPPER P375
White fish, red onions, yellow pepper sauce, red chili, cilantro, sesame seeds, sesame oil,  sweet potato strings



GREEN CEVICHE P375
White fish, octopus and prawns, wasabi cream, red onions, red chili, cilantro, canchita, sweet potato strings. I loved the hint of wasabi. 



SALMON THAI P395
Salmon, mango, thai sauce, cilantro, negi, roasted coconut, coconut milk


MAINS



NIKKEI BUTA BUNS P395

Steamed bun, braised pork belly, wasabi mayo, nikkei sauce , fried sweet potatoes. Easily one of my favorites. Reminded me of the buns in Ippudo but a notch more intense. The sweet potatoes are a revelation. They complimented the bun so nicely. I can eat 2 orders of these



FIDEO SALTADO P 595

Peruvian "chow-mien" shrimp, snapper, squid, vegetables, egg yolk. Pinoys would love this dish. It is sweet which we generally love and savory. There are a lot of elements working here but they blend together into a cohesive whole which spelled S-C-R-U-M-P-T-I-O-U-S



CARILLERAS P395

Braised iberico Pork Cheeks, Truffle Potato cream. Our carnivore piggery would love this dish. That tender yet meaty pork cheeks were savory and delicious . Paired with the silky truffle potato cream , it was divine and filling.

DESSERTS


SUSPIRO LIMENO P 220

Traditional Peruvian dessert  of  Silky smooth caramel with meringue and berries. Im  of  two heads with this one. I like each component individually. The choolate mousse was sweet and silky. The berries were  flavorful and fruity. The meringue was delicious. But taken together ? They did not blend well, Im afraid.



TRES LECHES P295

Sponge cake soaked in custard cream. I loved the generous serving of torched cubed mangoes on top. If you want your dessert really sweet then you will love this.


PICARONES P380

Sweet Potato-cinnamon fried dough, maple syrup, ice cream.  Compared to the two desserts above, this one looked the plainest and most simple. But it turned out to be my top choice among the 3 desserts served. I guessed Ive become a fan of sweet potato. I just love the texture of the yellow tuber shaped and fried like a donut. So sweet  and delicious paired with ice cream.

NIKKEI BRUNCH SETS Available 1130 Am to 5 PM Monday to Saturday  ( comes with miso soup)


SEABASS KATSU SET P495
Seabass, gohan, fried egg



ARROZ CHAUFA SET P495
Peruvian Chinese fried rice/ smoked salmon  japanese omelet


CRAFT COCKTAILS



SLEEPLESS IN SHINJUKU P295
Coffee infused Whiskey, cointreau, Angostura Bitters


GONE GEISHA P295
Gin, Sake, St. Germain, Lemon pure, simple syrup, egg white, angostura bitters


LOST IN TRANSLATION P295
Ginger Sencha Infused Whiskey, maple syrup , lemon pure , wasabi salt


RETIRED YAKUZA P395
Angostura bitters, sweet vermouth, suntory whiskey


SUMMARY

Over all dining at Nikkei was  like having a preview of   Japanese- Peruvian cuisine. A whole new vista was opened to this foodie as I tried  pronouncing terms such Latke, Huancaino, Causa, Fideo Saltado, etc.

Fresh fish never tasted so good. We enjoyed 4 types of Ceviche and a Tuna Latke. Delicious. 

The whole Nikkei experience is firming my resolve to  experience Peru first hand.

When you go to Nikkei though, set aside your quantity-over-quality mindset. Servings here are almost degustation-like in  portions. After all , every ingredient you taste in your dish was carefully selected. So the idea is to linger over each item appreciating how it was all put together  using all 5 senses

NIKKEI  is located at the ground floor, The Podium, ADB Avenue Ortigas Mandaluyong City. The restaurant is open from 11 am to 10 pm. Call 0995 9083145  for reservation














Nikkei Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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