Banner Mistral Gin - 480x135
Banner Angostura - 480x135


Have 1 item

By Chef Nicos Constantinou


The Japanese began arriving in Peru in the late 1800s. Many factors motivated the Japanese to immigrate to Peru either in search of gold, the mild climate, the rich soil for farming, no epidemics etc as a result we have a fusion of these cultures as Japanese Peruvians, providing a platform for gastronomy to merge. This possibility of experimentation which this synthesis offers is today being exploited throughout the world. We met with Chef Nicos Constantinou specializing in Nikkei and Latin American cuisine.


. What is exactly Nikkei cuisine?

Japanese Food the South American Way…. At its simplest, Nikkei cuisine is the cooking of the Japanese diaspora. Japanese immigrants have found themselves in a variety of cultures and contexts, but have often maintained a loyalty to their native cuisine. This has required local adaptation over the last 100 years: the so-called Nikkei community has embraced a new country's ingredients and assimilated these into their cooking using Japanese techniques.


. How did you come across it and how did you get involved in it?

The desire to explore different ¬flavors and ingredients of the world in order to create aglobal style of cooking made me to travel a lot. The first time I came across Nikkei Cuisine was at Peru back to 2014



. How did Peru influence Japanese taste and vice versa?

Nikkei cuisine uses Peruvian ingredients prepared through a Japanese lens. In fact, most of Peru’s iconic fish dishes were actually made popular by Japanese cooks. Tiradito, the dish of raw sliced fish with aji pepper sauce, is considered a reinterpreted sashimi. Some ingredients that are now staples were popularized by Nikkei cooks for example Peruvian people never used to use octopus or eel.


Salmon Tiradito
Salmon, passion-fruit leche de Tigre, avocado mousse, black sea salt and sweet potato


Beef Tataki
Beef flamed and drizzled with virgin olive oil and Smoked aji panca, pear, passion fruit salsa, petals


. Give us your philosophy in approaching this style of cuisine.

Best available fresh ingredients are a must. Know your products, the balance of the flavors…For example Ceviche is rich in umami flavor thanks to the denaturalization of raw fish when mixed with lemon and salt. Chicha de jora, a beverage obtained from corn fermentation is frequently used in Nikkei dishes to bring out the umami flavor.


Lubina Ceviche
Seabass briefly marinated in Lime juice, Leche de Tigre – Tiger’s Milk, Aji Limo, Red Onions, nasturtium leaves, Yams, shiso and black garlic


Vieiras Ceviche
Scallops, Coconut leche de Tigre, radish, Cilantro, Red onion, Corn, Sweet Potato crisp


. There is sushi and sushi! What is the difference from Japanese traditional sushi and Nikkei sushi?

Techniques are the same, what is different is some ingredients like sauces   


. Give us some examples of best matching ingredient representing the fusion of these two culinary origins.

Aji Amarillo pepper with any fish, warm or cold


. Surely like most recent marriages of thoughts there is continuous evolution in this idea. Do you have a feeling which direction this is going?

Well is a big community of Chinese in Peru as well. The cuisine is called Chifa. Also New Mexican cuisine has an influence of Nikkei presentation.


. What are the most indifferent techniques in cooking this style compared to traditional French or Italian? 

The only thing that can define the difference between the two is the attitude with which they are prepared. Nikkei use dashi the French use stocks, sashimi is very similar philosophy with carpaccio …


. What would be your advisory tips to a younger chef approaching and learning this style of cuisine?

 Learn the ingredients use is very important to understand the cuisine.


. Are the skills needed by a chef different than the ones of a European cuisine chef?

Not really.


. Where have you experienced and were mostly impressed by Nikkei cuisine?

Restaurants  Maido in Lima and Pakta in Barcelona.


Picante de Camarones
Prawns, Moromi Miso sauce, Purple potato, spring onion, baby corn, crispy yam and lime


.Your motto?

I have an absolute passion for cooking and have done all my life.  I am very creative and love to make new and exciting dishes to serve to my customers. 


Director/Executive Chef Nicos Constantinou runs a Consulting company for Concept Development, Menu Development, restaurants start up, Training and Seminars. His personnal trainings and experiences he accumulated over the years from various locations such as  Nikkei, Peruvian Japanese upper class Restaurant in Miami, Florida, Usa; Coya Miami, Peruvian Restaurant Chain, Usa; Above Eleven Peruvian Japanese Fine Dining, Bangkok, Thailand. He has been practically trained in Paris, France  at the Henny Penny training center and in Italy for regional cuisine with practical training at  Rustichella d’Abruzzo.


Published in Eats

Follow me...