Hajime Kasuga is one of the stars of Nikkei cuisine in Peru. But what is this style of cooking that has bewitched Peruvian palates and grown to the highest levels of sophistication in just a few years? Nikkei cuisine is the fusion of Peruvian and Japanese culinary traditions. Using ingredients of both countries, Japanese techniques, and prepared mostly by Japanese descendants, these culinary style is visually stunning, with dishes that are fresh and delicious masterpieces.
In his newly opened Ache Café, located in the heart of Miraflores, one of the busiest neighborhoods in Lima, Hajime is having a blast. As the creative mind behind every dish, he lets his imagination run wild, making food that is visually appealing, and mouthwatering. The entire experience is one of a kind, and is something extraordinary even in a city where Nikkei options abound.
If you eat here, you may want to start with a dish of triangular maki rolls covered with crunchy quinoa, for example. The different textures create a party in your mouth, with a creamy filling, and a lightly sweet glutinous rice surrounded by a quinoa crust that makes every bite not only crispy but unique. You can follow this with a ginger – wasabi cebiche served in a martini glass. This is basically a traditional cebiche, with Japanese highlights in the form of a wasabi foam and ginger flavor. A nice touch of finely grated citrus peel used to garnish the glass rim gives a delicate color accent to this appetizer.
The hot cebiche is another dish you can´t miss. It comes boiling to the table in a small plate that looks very much like a stone mortar. Hajime says that it took him a lot of time and experimentation to decide which was the right fish and the perfect timing to apply. The winner was conger eel, a gelatinous fish that stands beautifully in this cebiche. Cooked like a Sudado, a coastal dish, you can feel the flavor of a traditional cebiche in every bite: spicy, citrusy, and so fresh that you can taste the sea in it. Shrimp and squid top the fish.
On the menu one can also find many rice, noodle, fish, and pork options. And don´t forget to order something from the bar. Nazario is a young but experienced barman, whose creativity has won him the reputation of being one of the best in the continent. Working with Hajime for many years, he has designed several drinks that create perfect synergy with the original food of Ache.
I loved visiting Ache, and left the place feeling satisfied and excited. I even took a recipe home with me! Here it is for all of you.
- 1 fresh oyster
- 20 ml shoyu
- 20 ml lime juice
- Pinch of Xantan gum, to thicken
- ½ scallion, finely sliced, to garnish
- 2 sprigs soy or turnip sprouts, to garnish (optional)
- In the blender process shoyu, lime juice, and Xantan gum.
- Pour over the oyster, and garnish with scallion, and soy or turnip sprouts, if using.