Local palates well acquainted with the likes of European or Asian fare can now turn their attention to Peruvian cuisine, which is gaining traction as more restaurants and bars introduce the flavours of the South American region that are, in some ways, similar to ours.
“Peru is similar to Singapore in that it is also a multicultural country, and its cuisine is a reflection of the various cultures and flavours introduced by immigrants from Asia, Europe and West Africa,” says a representative from ERU, a new Peruvian dining concept opening at The Patina, Capitol Singapore end of this year.
(RELATED: We ask Daniel Chavez from Ola Cocina Del Mar eight questions on the up-and-coming cuisine.)
The menu is overseen by Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, chef-owner of acclaimed Malabar in Lima, Peru, which graced last year’s World’s 100 Best Restaurants list. It will feature dishes like Arroz Chaufa – an Asian-inspired fried rice that uses seafood and Peruvian peppers to give it a South American twist. The restaurant will also have a ceviche bar serving up over 10 types of the iconic Peruvian dish of sliced raw fish cured in tiger’s milk (a marinade of onions, chillies and fresh lime juice).
Over at Tiger’s Milk rooftop bar and grill in hotel The Club, diners get a preview of Nikkei, another facet of Peruvian cuisine that draws influence from Japanese techniques and ingredients. A signature dish here is Salmon Nikkei, which has thin slices of salmon sashimi dressed in yuzu and ginger mimicking the bright, bold flavours of a typical ceviche.
“Many Singaporeans are attracted to Japanese flavours, especially the umami kind, and that is something we offer,” says local chef Daniel Sia, who collaborated with Hajime Kasuga – chef-owner of Ache restaurant in Lima and well-known for his expertise on Nikkei cuisine – on the menu for Tiger’s Milk.
“Singaporeans enjoy travelling around the world, and Peru is a country that has not been as popular a destination as the UK or Europe,” says Sia. “But the public attention given to Peruvian cuisine in the UK and Hong Kong has sparked a growing curiosity in this region.”
Even bars like Vasco, the new sister outfit of The Cufflink Club, are turning away from more commercial spirits like whisky and gin and focusing instead on a wider selection of piscos (grape brandy), the national liquor of Peru. Here’s hoping it won’t be long before more exotic Peruvian produce like kulli (black corn) comes to our shores.