The Rompel Report: Sushi, Peruvian Style

Andy Rompel, our intrepid lifestyle correspondent in Lima, turns his eagle-like gaze on sushi, Peruvian style.

If you are a Sushi lover, then Lima is the place to visit, best on your way up to Machu Picchu, the UNESCO World Heritage site high up in the Andes.  There is a strong Japanese influence in Peru, evident in the previous Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, who was of Japanese descent.  But apart from the currently jailed-for-corruption Ex-President, there is a huge variety of Sushi restaurants in Lima, and one actually better than the other.

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Call it Fusion, it is traditional Sushi with a Peruvian twang, unmistakably evident in the addition of fresh fruit / juice, delicious sauces or simply bread-crumbed around the maki.  Most of the countless fish restaurants have a selection of Sushi amongst their starters, but some specialize in Sushi altogether.  Amongst them are EDO and Osaka.  The first one being more of a family restaurant, supplies mixed platters of the finest quality, including Sashimi of Tuna and Salmon, whereas the latter is a rather up-market restaurant for the connoisseur.  Both have branched off into the various better suburbs of Lima to enable the patrons’ easy access in the rather impossible traffic of Lima.

My favourite dish is the platter for two at EDO’s called “paquete” (package), a combo of Salmon and Tuna Sashimi, various Makis, Nigiris of your choice, perhaps Pulpo (Octopus) and Camarones (Shrimp) and a warm dish, perhaps Shrimp or Vegetable Tempura.

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At Osaka it is a no-brainer.  The Salmon Carpaccio in Maracuya juice (Passion Fruit / Granadilla) and Croquant is to die for and the opening course of choice.  Followed by various yummie Makis, the meal should end with Scallops and Parmesan cheese.  Not strictly Sushi, but nevertheless a formidable dish to close.

But what to drink with it?  Of course you have the obligatory Pisco Sour as a starter, a Grappa-style spirit blended with ice, lime and egg-white, topped with a drop of Angostura bitters (the Chileans also make a Pisco Sour, but it isn’t half as good as the Peruvian version).  White wine is the safe bet, unless you are a die-hard red wine drinker like some of my friends in Lima.

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Unfortunately good white wine doesn’t come in abundance in South America.  There are few and far in between, but most of the whites cannot be described better than being mediocre.  There are a few exceptions of course, the San Pedro de Yacochuya Torrontés from Argentina, just to mention one (interesting grape!).  If it has to be red, I’d suggest a light New World-style Pinot Noir. Buen Aprovecho!