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What is Nikkei Food? The Trendy Cuisine You Must Try

An overview of Nikkei food, including what it is, where it comes from, and the top 7 restaurants you need to try on your next trip to Peru.
A Nikkei dish with bright yellow sauce, red peppers, and green garnishes. Photo by Peru For Less
A Nikkei dish with bright yellow sauce, red peppers, and green garnishes. Photo by Peru For Less
Have you ever had Nikkei food? Billed as Peruvian-Japanese fusion, this delicious culinary trend is taking the world by storm. Here’s a guide to some of the best Nikkei food in Peru.
Table of Contents

What is Nikkei Food?

Although the term “Nikkei” was historically used to refer to descendants of Japanese immigrants, today it refers to a type of food these people make in Peru. Bringing culture and customs from Japan and using the rich tropical ingredients found in Peru, a new type of cuisine was born. You may want to try lomo saltado sushi, or perhaps maki rolls with acevichado sauce. Whatever you decide, there are sure to be new flavors and textures for you to explore. If you are in Lima, make sure to check out some of the best restaurants for Nikkei food. Here at Peru for Less, we can add any of these restaurants to your custom itinerary for your next trip.

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Where Does Nikkei Come From?

This is a tricky question because the tradition stems from Japan, but the ingredients are Peruvian. So, this fusion of culture is actually from both places. Of course, it is Japanese, but it is also distinctly Peruvian. Take, for example, the Acevichado Maki, which is a Japanese sushi roll prepared with Peruvian Acevichado sauce.

At this point, you’re probably thinking, “Sounds great, but where do I get it?” To answer the question, we compiled a list of the seven best restaurants to get Nikkei food in Lima, Peru.

7 Best Nikkei Restaurants in Lima, Peru

1. Maido

At the top of our list is Maido, a concept from Head Chef Mitsuharu Trumura. This is not only one of the best places to get Nikkei, but also one of the best restaurants in Latin America, ranking 11th out of 50 on San Pellegrino’s list. Exquisite food is served in a strikingly modern setting. Flavors will dance in your mouth as you work through the Misha tasting menu, which translates in English to mean “200 miles,” or the amount of ocean that is claimed by Peru.

2. Osaka
A Nikkei dish at Osaka in Lima, served on a stone with chopsticks.

A Nikkei dish served on a stone at Osaka in Lima. Photo by Peru For Less

Moving to our next entry on our list, we arrive at Osaka, a restaurant that has been serving Nikkei in Lima since 2001. Another show-stopping restaurant praised by casual diners and food critics alike, expect nothing but the best when you dine here. The place has undeniable energy and style, which is reflected in both the decor and the dishes they serve. Sit at the marble bar and watch the chefs at work. The dishes are nothing short of a work of art, and the taste is out of this world.

3. Sakura Sushi

This is a family-owned restaurant that delivers full flavor in a casual setting. Here you can get great ceviche, fried calamari, and amazing sushi. The Tuna Tiradito Nikkei is a great option combining the delicate texture of tuna with a crunchy Andean mix. They also offer a range of traditional and non-traditional rolls including the Inka Maki, which features smoked trout, avocado, cream cheese, tare sauce, and crunchy quinoa.

4. Matsuei

One of the pioneers of Nikkei food, Matsuei has been serving incredible food for over 50 years. The story goes that every chef who learned this technique learned from Matsuei. Just a few blocks from Kennedy Park, you will find a modern place serving incredibly fresh seafood. It’s one of the few places you can try sea urchin (Uni) in Lima. The fish is delivered daily, and the attention to detail is sure to delight.

5. Toshi

Located in Miraflores, Toshi has an industrial vibe with metallic and woody elements throughout. If you want something refreshing, order the house drink, Oishii, which mixes pisco with sake, lychee, and mint ginger ale. From there, the spiced nigiris are amazing, and don’t miss the Aburi Salmon Belly, which is flambéed in lemon-garlic butter.

A red shell with a dish inside served on ice at Maido in Lima.

A dish served at Maido in Lima. Photo by Peru For Less

6. Enkai

A little easier on the wallet, yet still surprisingly luxurious, you will have a strong introduction to Nikkei food at Enkai. Nigiri, sashimi, and rolls all made with fresh Peruvian ingredients are sure to make it a night to remember. As with many great places in Peru, the restaurant facade is modest and unassuming, but inside you find a welcoming atmosphere and delicious cuisine.

7. Gaijin Cocina Nikkei

Our list wouldn’t be complete without Gaijin. This place is sure to dazzle you with colors and flavors. Located in San Isidro, you will find a new restaurant that is making a name for itself. A remarkably simple atmosphere combines with the most exquisite flavors to create an unforgettable experience. Be sure to ask about this as part of your custom trip to Peru and we can take care of all the details for you.

A decadent dessert in a glass dish at Gaijin Cocina Nikkei

A decadent dessert at Gaijin Cocina Nikkei. Photo by Peru For Less

Get Help Planning Your Next Trip

Curious about Nikkei food? It’s time to consider experiencing it in Peru! If you want help booking your next trip, be sure to contact Peru For Less and get in touch with an expert travel advisor. They will put together a custom itinerary and quote for you so you can enjoy your next culinary adventure.

Happy travels!

 Kevin Green
Kevin Green
Kevin, is an author and lover of adventure originally from northern Utah. He has a bachelor’s degree in English from BYU and a Marketing MBA from SUU. Upon visiting Peru, he fell in love with the country and decided to make Lima his new home.
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