Nikkei Cuisine: 5 Amazing Japanese Peruvian Foods That Will Make You Salivate

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Japanese Peruvian food, known as Nikkei cuisine is a blend of Peruvian ingredients with Japanese cooking techniques.

Discovering Peru Japanese food was a highlight of our quest to understand the authentic food specialties in Peru.

Nikkei cuisine is now taking the world by storm, and Peruvians are increasingly celebrating the influence of the Japanese diaspora.

Nikkei cuisine is constantly evolving, and Nikkei chefs all add their own signature touch to Japanese-Peruvian food.

From our Peru culinary travels, we highlight 5 amazing Nikkei dishes and where to have them. 

Consider this your introductory guide to Japanese Peruvian food.

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What is Nikkei Cuisine?

Peruvian Japanese Cuisine by Authentic Food Quest
Peruvian Japanese cuisine

Nikkei cuisine is the gourmet fusion between Peru and Japan. To understand how this culinary fusion came together, we need to start with what does Nikkei mean?

The word “Nikkei” refers to Japanese people who live outside of Japan, or, in other words, Japanese emigrants. 

Nikkei cuisine has been expanded to include innovative cuisine that results when traditional Peruvian ingredients are merged with Japanese cooking and cuisine.

When the new arrivals landed in Peru, they added soy sauce to ceviches, sushi rolling techniques with local ingredients to create the union of Nikkei cuisine.

AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: If you are curious about Nikkei food and would like to savor the flavors at home, consider taking an online cooking class. The Chef and the Dish offers online cooking classes with a chef from Peru, where you can learn the art of Nikkei cuisine. Master Peruvian dishes like Nikkei ceviche as you have fun in a 2.5-hour cooking class with a chef from Peru.

Nikkei Cuisine History

Nikkei Cuisine by Authentic Food Quest
A blend of Peruvian ingredients and Japanese cooking techniques

The history of Nikkei cuisine started when Japanese products and cooking techniques met with those of Peru.

This started at the end of the at the end of the 19th century when Japanese immigrants first came to Peru. Today, Peru has the second-largest Japanese population in South America after Brazil.

Upon arrival, the Japanese started integrating with Peruvians, bringing their culinary heritage and their own Japanese cooking techniques. 

The Japanese introduced new ingredients to Peruvian cuisine like miso, ginger, soy, wasabi, and rice vinegar. 

They also integrated Peruvian ingredients such as aji or yellow pepper, Andes potatoes, and corn. 

Nikkei cuisine was born as a result of the fusion of Japanese recipes and traditions with Peruvian ingredients.

AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: If your travels take you to Peru, why not explore Nikkei cuisine on a food tour with a local guide? See our recommendations for the 10 Best Food Tours in Lima to Take For A Peruvian Feast

5 Japanese Peruvian Dishes Inspired By Nikkei Cuisine

Today, Nikkei food is constantly evolving. The best way to understand Nikkei is to experience it.

Here are five Japanese-Peruvian dishes to whet your appetite.

1. Ceviche Nikkei – Delicious Japanese Peruvian Style Ceviche

Nikkei Cuisine by Authentic Food Quest
Ceviche Nikkei food

When the Japanese immigrated to Peru and began to mix their traditions with those of Peru, the ceviche dish was transformed.

Ceviche is Peru’s national dish, and with the introduction of ingredients from the Rising Sun, Ceviche Nikkei was born.

The traditional recipe for Peruvian Ceviche calls for marinating fresh fish in lime juice for many hours until it is “cooked.” 

While the Japanese Peruvian fusion Ceviche Nikkei, adds fresh lime only for a few minutes on the fish before serving, keeping it from “overcooking.” 

The traditional Japanese ingredient ginger is added to provide additional flavor as well as soy sauce.

We found Nikkei Ceviche to be quite flavorful with a zingy taste. The fresh fish with delightful citrus and savory soy sauce flavors makes for an excellent Nikkei Ceviche experience.

RELATED: Peruvian Criollo Food Guide: Top 7 Dishes to Devour

2. Tiradito or Sake No Niwa – Salmon and Quinoa Sashimi 

Tiradito Nikkei cuisine by Authentic Food Quest
Tiradito in Japanese Peruvian cuisine

Tiradito is one of the emblematic dishes that showcases Japanese influences on Peruvian cuisine.

This Peruvian Japanese dish is made with raw fish which is thinly cut giving it the appearance of carpaccio or sashimi. 

Where Tiradito differs from Ceviche is that with the Tiradito, the fish is thinly sliced, while the fish in ceviche is most often cubed. 

Tiradito, like Sashimi, is served raw and usually prepared immediately after one orders it in a restaurant. 

In keeping with Nikkei tradition, Tiradito is not served with raw onions, removing the onion mordant flavor.

While at a Nikkei restaurant in Lima, we savored a traditional Tiradito named Sake No Niwa. 

This Nikkei food consisted of three thinly sliced rolled salmon pieces, served with arugula, quinoa, dill, and a creamy chili sauce. 

The freshness of the salmon with the combination of the bitter and mild flavor was exceptional. 

With the fresh pieces of salmon literally melted in the mouth, Tiradito is an exquisite delight.

While in Peru or at a Nikkei restaurant, be sure to order Tiradito for a wonderful fusion of flavors Peru and Japanese food.

AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST RECIPE: Bring delicious Peruvian Tiradito flavors into your kitchen with this simple “no cook” recipe. See more in our Simple Tiradito Recipe: Peruvian-Style Salmon Sashimi With Quinoa

3. Amazon Nikkei – De La Selva Lo Nikkei 

Nikkei cuisine Tzuru_AutheticFoodQuest Food Travel Experiences
Nikkei Amazon incorporates slices of Paiche fish

Japanese Peruvian cuisine also draws from the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest. Using traditional Peruvian ingredients from the Amazon Jungle, unique dishes are created by Nikkei chefs.

This particular Nikkei Amazon dish cuisine incorporates slices of a fish from the Amazon called Paiche.

 Pronounced pie-chay, it is one of the largest fresh water fish in the world.

At a Nikkei restaurant in Lima, we were excited to discover this Amazonian and Japanese culture combination.

Beautifully presented and featuring a creative mix of Japanese and Peruvian flavors, this Nikkei food was accompanied by a traditional Amazon salad.

The cooking techniques incorporated Peruvian flavors like the Amazon Chonta Salad, Cocona fruit, and an Anticucho dressing.

The Japanese flavors came in the form of Miso seasoning, and a Mirin vinaigrette which incorporates Japanese white wine.

The way the fish was thinly sliced also reflects the Japanese Nikkei tradition.

Paiche prepared in this Japanese-Peruvian fusion style was utterly delicious. We found the fish to be wonderfully tender and with slightly spicy notes from the combination of sauces.

RELATED: 7 Surprising Amazonian Foods to Try From the Peru Rainforest

4. Pancayaki – Maki with Octopus 

Nikkei cuisine - Pancayaki at Tzuru by Authentic Food Quest
Reinterpretation of the Japanese maki roll

Peru has 1,500 miles of coastline, and the fruits of the sea are used in Japanese Peruvian fusion cuisine.

Pancayaki Nikkie is a reinterpretation of the Japanese maki roll. 

Generally, Maki, a form of sushi, consists of white rice wrapped in seaweed wrappers and filled with squid, tuna, and other ingredients.

In Nikkei cuisine, Pancayaki incorporates traditional Peruvian ingredients like Andean potatoes or Anticuchera sauce, a traditional Peruvian sauce.

Different Nikkei chefs will put their own twist on this Nikkei dish. We savored it in Lima with Maki stuffed with avocado, onion tempura, octopus, anticuchera sauce, and mushrooms. 

Thinly sliced native Andean potatoes sprinkled on top added a nice crunch. Pancayaki is an exquisite Maki roll worth seeking out at Nikkei restaurants.

5. El Barranquino – Salmon and Sweet Potato Puree

Nikkei cuisine - Barranquino at Hosso, Baranco by Authentic Food Quest
Barranquino Nikkei cuisine

El Barranquino is another dish that has made a big wave in Japanese-Peruvian fusion cuisine. 

In Lima, where we had it, we were intrigued by the combination of fresh salmon and camote or sweet potatoes.

This stunning dish consisted of five slices of salmon balancing delicately on a bed of sweet potato puree, with a touch of wasabi. 

Accompanying the dish was a Cocona salsa made with the Cocona fruit, a typical fruit from the Peruvian Amazon jungle.

At first glance, we thought the five pieces of salmon would not be enough. However, we were quite surprised and found the dish more filling and heavier than expected.

The sweet potatoes are filling, and the Cocona sweet and spicy salsa helped balance the sweet taste of the potatoes.

This is yet another Japanese-Peruvian food worth seeking out at Nikkei restaurants. 

Nikkei Restaurants in Peru and the US –  Where to Eat The Best Nikkei Cuisine

Claire and Rosemary at Nikkei restaurant in Peru
Our first Nikkei restaurant experience in Lima

If your travels take you to Peru, you’ll several Nikkei restaurants and expert Nikkei chefs that will surprise you with an elegant combination of bold flavors. However, if traveling to Peru is not on your itinerary, you can also try Nikkei cuisine in the United States.

Following are some of the top-rated Nikkei restaurants in Peru and the United States.

Maido – Lima

Maido Lima by Authentic Food Quest
A local cuisine with a Japanese twist Photo credit: Maido Facebook page

Maido is one of the most popular restaurants in Lima renowned for its many Nikkei dishes. It has been recognized as one of “The World’s 50 Best Restaurants.”

Itamae – Miami 

Itamae, a family-owned restaurant in Miami’s Design District is a 2023 James Beard semi-finalist restaurant. Their Nikkei dishes are the main draw, and they include tiradito, bluefin tuna, scallops, all cooked with Japanese and Peruvian ingredients.

Sen Sakana – New York 

Sen Sankana in New York City offers Kosher Nikkei cuisine. This award-winning restaurant gets rave reviews for its extensive Nikkei menu, including a dedicated Nikkei Maki tasting experience.

Kaiyo – San Francisco 

Kaiyo San Francisco by Authentic Food Quest
Explore Peruvian Japanese fusion food – Photo credit: Kaiyo Facebook page

With locations in San Francisco and future locations in Las Vegas, Kaiyo offers a wide selection of Nikkei starters paired with Peruvian Pisco drinks like Pisco Sour. Try exceptional Tiradito like Scallop or Tuna Tataki Tiradito.

Nobu – Las Vegas 

Nobu has several locations in Las Vegas, including their famous location at Caesar’s Palace. On the Nikkei menu, you can savor several raw fish rolls and more. 

Tanta Chicago 

The menu at Tanta in Chicago, was created by Gaston Acurio, Peru’s celebrity chef and the local Chicago chef to take you on an exciting Peruvian flavors experience. The shareable Tiradito’s are some of their most popular Nikkei dishes. 

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In Summary

The immigrant culture in Peru remains strong, and you can see its influence when you dive into Nikkei cuisine. 

The subtle transformation of raw fish and seafood by the Japanese to create Nikkei cuisine is nothing short of remarkable. 

Discovering the Japanese influence and Nikkei cuisine gave us an even fuller understanding of Peru’s rich gastronomy and culinary culture.

If your travels take you to Peru, or if there is a Nikkei restaurant in your area, do yourself a favor and try this unique fusion cuisine.

Have you tried Japanese Peruvian food or Nikkei cuisine before? Please let us know what you think in the comments below.

Savor The Adventure!

More Peruvian Local Food Experiences

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Our book, Authentic Food Quest Peru takes you on a journey through the regional food specialties in Peru. Get an introduction to Peruvian food and the history of how this unique gastronomy came to be.

Discover the authentic foods in Lima and Cusco as well as the top Peruvian foods and drinks that should not be missed. Take this guide with you as you explore Peru’s magnificent cuisine.

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40 Comments on “Nikkei Cuisine: 5 Amazing Japanese Peruvian Foods That Will Make You Salivate”

  1. Rarely have I come across a foodie post that so nails the title and genuinely does make me salivate in anticipation!

    Up until discovering this post I never even knew that such a gorgeous sounding fusion of food cultures existed!

    I wonder if this cuisine is available anywhere in Japan??

    • Thank you so much Rob for your feedback and kind words. Great question about the cuisine being available in Japan. I’m not sure since it was created using a mix of Peruvian and Japanese ingredients. That said, we have not visited Japan for the food and would love to explore and find out. What do you think? Cheers

      • I’m not sure. I’ve not seen Peruvian food in Japan, but I’m sure it’s there.

        Also, the Japanese aren’t shy of trying fusion approaches when it comes to Japanese and non-Japanese cuisine. (It’s not always a success however!)

        But anyone setting up shop selling food like this in Japan would certainly enjoy plenty of attention I think.

        • You are right Rob, Japanese cuisine is certainly flexible and adaptable. I’m not sure it would be easy to find native Peruvian products in Japan to make Nikkei. But, if it were possible, like you, I think it would be a success. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Those pictures of Ceviche Nikkei are making me thirsty! One pisco sour and one cup of ocha por favor 😉
    Excellent post. I am a Japanese-Peruvian living in Los Angeles and, when people ask me to describe Peruvian food, I am always at a loss of words. It is so… “eclectic” perhaps?
    But now I’ve found the solution: Authentic Food Quest will help me understand and explain my own cuisine! Thank you!

    • Cheers to you Luis…a virtual toast with a pisco sour. Thank you so much for your complimentary feedback on the article. We absolutely fell in love with Nikkei cuisine in Peru and it continues to be some of our favorite Peruvian food. Do send folks over to Authentic Food Quest to learn more about Peruvian cuisine, as a matter of fact we are about to release our new book about the amazing local Peruvian dishes we discovered in Peru. Thanks so much stopping by.

  3. When its Japanese food, i got to be real, i never tried anything Japanese before, because i had this weird thing that i dont like japanese food in my mind. Then i tasted sushi, ah! how tasty it was, then i went on a spree to taste every japanese dish, they tingle my palate that blow me. These set of dishes look amazing, and i got to try these very soon.

    • Yes, Japanese food is amazing…we love it as well. Nikkei from Peru is special, though. It is heavily influenced by the Japanese culture and cuisine, though the ingredients are mostly Peruvian. It is an amazing combination of flavors. Highly recommend that you give it a try, and let us know what you think. Thanks for your comments Alex!

  4. I love Japanese food no matter what part of the world I eat it in! There are a lot of Japanese immigrants in Brazil as well. I have a Brazilian friend who is Japanese by culture, it is an interesting mix of cultures!

    • Thanks Andi for your comments. Indeed Brasil does have the largest population of Japanese in South America. We never made it to Brasil, so I wonder what their Japanese and Brasilian fusion tastes like. Japanese-Peruvian is an interesting mix and the food is absolutely delightful. Thanks again.

    • Thanks Carmen, we were just as surprised to hear to learn about the Japanese influence in Peru. Nikkei does not taste that different from ceviche, the differences are in the subtly of ingredients and flavors. You will enjoy it. Thanks for your comments 🙂

  5. I can’t believe I didn’t get to experience Nikkei in Peru! They recently opened a restaurant here in Manila adhering to the same concept and your post just convinced me to try it out. I’m not usually a big fan of fusion but I can just imagine that whenever there’s great seafood and Japanese people around, it would be a sure hit. Always love hearing about your food adventures, Claire!

    • Thanks so much Trisha. Yes..yes…yes, do check out the restaurant that is close to you. The fusion of flavors and freshness of the seafood will blow you away. So glad you enjoy the reading about our adventures. Happy to hear that. Let us know what you think when you try out the restaurant 🙂

  6. Wow! I love Japanese food and Japanese mixed with Peruvian definitely looks interesting! I particularly want to try the maki with octopus. What an intriguing combination. ?

  7. You learn something new every day. I had no idea that Japanese Peruvian cuisine even existed, but now I’d like to try Japanese-influenced ceviche and Amazon Nikkei. I’ve been to Peru and the Amazon but never ate anything like this, though I was blown away by the food.

  8. Okay, I just learned a while new cuisine that I’d never heard of. I want to go back to Peru now just to try all of these dishes. The plating is incredible. I love salmon sashimi and that Saki No Niwa looks so good.

  9. Japanese – Peruvian fusion cuisine is a new one to me but you are right, I want to try it now I know about it. I love Japanese food already so I know I’ll like it. The ceviche is very similar to how it’s prepared in many of the Pacific Island so I know I love that and the plate of Tiradito is beautiful, clearly taking a lot of the Japanese influence of presentation and eating with the eyes into consideration.

  10. I didn’t realize that there was such a large Japanese population in Peru. Nikkei cuisine sounds amazing and like such an interesting combination! Everything you had looks fantastic. I would especially love to try the El Barranquino–the combination of the salmon and sweet potatoes sounds really good, and the Ceviche Nikkei sounds delicious, too!

    • Thanks Jenna. We were really amazed at the Japanese influence as well and discovering Nikkei cuisine. It was all delicious and exquisite. You would love it. Check out a Peruvian restaurant near you and see if they offer Nikkei. Well worth it. Cheers!

  11. And here I thought Nikkei was a stock exchange. Who knew? 🙂

    I’ve had ceviche in Peru a few times, but I don’t recall is it was Nikkei ceviche or not. Guess I’ll have to make a trip back!

    • Thanks Raymond. Indeed, multiple uses for the same word…”Nikkei” : ) True the ceviche preparations styles are not that distinct, what matters is that it is fresh and tastes good. Time for another trip now. Thanks for for your comments.

  12. I definitely learned something new today. I had no idea what Nikkei was or that there was so many Japanese influences in Peru. I would love to try this one day. Thanks for opening up yet another option in Peru!

    • Good to hear Megan that you learned something new. Our goal is to inspire people to travel through food and I’m glad we did that for you. The food in Peru is truly amazing. The ceviche is so fresh due to the proximity of the Pacific. You truly can’t go wrong with any seafood. Hope you can get to visit Peru soon. Cheers 🙂

    • You are so welcome Amer. Truly the food in Peru is outstanding. Nikkei deserves a special mention for being such fine cuisine with a traditional Peruvian flair. Hope you can get to Peru soon and experience it for yourself 🙂 Thanks for commenting!


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