best in class

Japanese-Peruvian Cuisine Is A Thing: Here's Where to Try It

How about at a spot considered one of the best restaurants in the world?

As you step into Maido, you’ll be greeted with a booming “Maido!” It means welcome in Japanese, and welcomed is exactly what you will feel from start-to-finish at this popular spot in Lima, Peru. The Japanese-Peruvian restaurant opened in 2009 is tucked away on a residential side street in the Miraflores district of Lima.

The first thing you’ll notice (after that enthusiastic welcome, that is) will be a burlap rope installation dangling from the ceiling, a throw-back to Incan art and communication. Depending on where you stand, the installation can appear as either the Japanese flag or the Peruvian one. (Cool, right?) But the rope ceiling isn’t the artistic aspect of the restaurant: The food is. Welcome to Maido.

Opt for the Nikkei (referring to Japanese diaspora, or those living outside of Japan) tasting menu, a Japanese-Peruvian fusion cuisine with thirteen elaborate bite-sized courses. Each dish will be explained in detail by your server, along with how best to consume said dish. (“Use the knife on your right to slide the bite onto your fork,” was one such helpful directive we were given.)

Courses are served one by one, each its own spectacle: A coral rock is served stacked with layered sushi, seaweed takes the place of a corn husk as it wraps around bite-sized tamales, and nitrogen-sprinkled tofu ice cream is concealed by a bowl of smoke as a second-to-last act. And these are just a few items from the tasting menu.

And the answer to your question is yes, this experience takes both time and money. We clocked our meal in at 4 hours. The price was a fraction of what it would be in New York, but at $160USD for the non-alcohol option and $230 for the alcohol option (which comes with eleven pairing drinks from saki and beer to white and red wine), it’s still more than my weekly spend here in Lima.

But you come for the experience and it doesn’t disappoint. Each dish is an artistic masterpiece, and each bite a unique design of flavors. My favorite dish may have been the Bahuaja nut covered cod, and, for dessert, the chocolate “mussel” filled with sorbet and served in an edible rock bowl made of grey sugar.

A visit to Lima wouldn’t be complete without trying one of the world-class restaurants it has to offer. (Find it at Central #5, Astrid y Gaston #33). Maido had not been on my radar when I arrived in Lima, but I’m truly grateful it landed on it. After all, who doesn’t like to be entertained with food?

A few more resources to support you during your Peruvian travels:

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