Monday, July 23, 2007

Hanzo Japanese Cuisine In Surco

Although I am no expert on Japanese cuisine, having grown up in Southern California where Japanese is a quite common culinary option, I simply love it.

I know Lima has some great Japanese restaurants, among them this gem of a place, located in the upwardly-mobile Surco district. I had long been wanting to try out this restaurant, considered among the best in the city.

On my most recent trip to Lima, I was able to visit and verify that Japanese cuisine is alive and well in the Peruvian capital.

Many visitors to Peru are surprised by the Asian influence in Peruvian society and cuisine, particularly along Peru's coast. But, Chinese and Japanese immigrants came to Peru at about the same time as they did to the West Coast of the United States (late 19th and early 20th century) albeit in lesser numbers.

I've previously written about the Chinese-Peruvian fusion cuisine restaurants, known as chifas, at this post. And, no visit to Lima is complete without a quick trip to Lima's Chinatown, as I mention here.

But, while the Japanese did not arrive in Peru in the same numbers as the Chinese, their influence is still felt in the cuisine known as nikkei, which is a fusion of Japanese cuisine with Peruvian influences.

At the helm of Hanzo Japanese Cuisine (which has been previously mentioned on this blog) is the young chef Hajime Kasuga, who despite his very Japanese name, was born and raised in Peru. He is one of the rising stars of Peruvian chefs who is always invited to represent Peru in culinary festivals worldwide at which he has won numerous awards.

Chef and Itamae, Hajime Kasuga

On our recent visit during the damp, grey Lima winter, we encountered a locale that was inviting and architecturally interesting. After drinking hot sake, we opted for a hot combination meal that included miso soup, seaweed salad, and the pièce de résistance: a sizzling platter of cracked shellfish and seafood, which we
washed down with copious amounts of both Sapporo and Asahi beer. In two words, our meal was simply wonderful.

On any future visit to Lima, Hanzo Japanese Cuisine will definitely be worth a repeat.

Hanzo Japanese Cuisine
Prolongación Primavera 1494, corner of La Encalada

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TAGS: Peru, Peruvian, food, cooking, cuisine, cocina, comida, gastronomía, peruana

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