Food & Drink

Nikkei Cuisine Gives Filipinos Japan and Peru on a Plate

Take a flavorful trip that combines South America’s punch and East Asian Zen.
IMAGE Kai Huang
Comments

Japanese food is characterized by fresh, clean flavors presented reverently and artfully. Peruvian cooking brings out zesty, zingy dishes laden with texture and taste. Marry these two and you get Nikkeinot the stock market that is currently experiencing a high, but a cuisine that has been described as the love child of the two countries.

Nikkei cuisine has come about because Peru has the second-largest Japanese population in Latin America, and since any migration and integration to society yields wonderful results (hello, Mr. Trump), the world is now enjoying the full benefits of flavors that combine the Zen of freshness with a feisty Latino kick.

Manila has its own version of this current cuisine craze, via the Nikkei restaurant run by Carlo Lorenzana, who has also gifted us with Shi Lin, La Cabrera, and Single Origin. “We took a chance with the restaurant, because for me, the Nikkei cuisine is a perfect combination of flavors that would mesh well with the Filipino palate. Filipinos like Japanese food, and Peruvian is basically seafood as well.”

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

He describes his concept as “a sushi bar,” with nigiri, sushi, and sashimi that are familiar with Filipinos. They have stuck to the traditional ways of preparing these too, much to the delight of their Japanese guests. “Filipinos are used to fusion naman. I guess it also wasn’t difficult because there is the Japanese element.”


ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Tataki


Tako confitado


ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Classic ceviche


Peruvian mashed potatoes

The dishes that he says embody what he is trying to do with the concept are the miso kurubota, lomo saltado (“very Peruvian, not Japanese at all”, he shares), the parmesan scallops, the nigiris, and the tako confitado which is an octopus, making it very Japanese but the sauce is very Peruvian.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

The concept, which opened at Legazpi Village has become so successful that they have now expanded to Rockwell, and soon, The Podium. “We opened the second branch because our space in Legazpi is really small and parking is a problem. We just want to be more accessible to the markets, with the Legazpi Village catering to the Makati CBD crowd and the other branches open to a wider audience. The audience that the serial restaurateur speaks of is a mix of expats (particularly the Japanese), foodies, yuppies, and millennials alike. “We get a pretty broad spectrum of people,” he comments.

The Rockwell branch is bigger, with a seating capacity of about 70. It also has an al fresco area, and a lounge with an exclusive cocktail list composed of four drinks, two of which are called “Japeritifs." Nikkei has a markedly smaller drinks inventory than his Single Origin concept, as Carlo explains that Japanese food goes well with light beers and Japanese whiskeys, so that is mostly what he offers there.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW


Smoked chili ceviche


ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Seared tuna with sea urchin risotto


Ebi furai sushi


ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Spicy tuna tartare

He doesn’t want to play on the word fusion when describing his concept. “Nikkei cuisine has an identity of its own, with its own sort of familiarity. To be honest, you don’t need to invent new things. Everything has been pretty much invented in the world in terms of food. Nikkei cuisine has been around and it has grown.”


ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Sake Sangria


Spicy Sake Martini

Carlo, who has been in the food industry since 2010, adds self-effacingly, “We really didn’t invent anything, we just tried to do the best we could with dishes that already exist. Maybe we did a little invention by adding influences outside of Nikkei cuisine, but nothing was totally invented. We just went with the popular dishes, we didn’t want 200 things on the menu, what we do have are the dishes using the freshest and best ingredients that we can find, with the tools and the skills that we have, and it turned out really well.”

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Nikkei has branches at Rada Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City; One Rockwell, Makati City.

Comments
View More Articles About:
About The Author
Maan D'asis Pamaran
View Other Articles From Maan
Comments
Latest Feed
 
Share
The Singapore-based startup reportedly laid off employees in Indonesia and Thailand, according to a media report.
 
Share
New styling and convenience features update the 10th generation Civic.
 
Share
The young La Spezia chefs want to challenge themselves.
 
Share
Game of Thrones showrunners seem to delight in featuring various celebrities in the show.
 
Share
She tried to get showrunners to change their minds but eventually gave up.
 
Share
Whether you’re a highly technical diver or simply looking to tell time in between laps at the pool, here are the timepieces that are built to thrive under extreme (water) pressure.
 
Share
Some early Galaxy Fold models are running into screen issues
 
Share
Heading into Season Eight, the HBO show's treatment of female characters remains unforgivable.
Load More Articles
Connect With Us