His restaurant is far from fancy, but it’s one of the most acclaimed eateries in Lima. Against all odds, this thin and lively journalist-turned-cook, famous around the world for his cebiches, his unique style of cooking, and for always having a beret on his head and a cigarette between his lips, has turned this little oasis of food into a treasure trove.
Wong says he doesn´t know where his magic fingers come from. His equipment consists of a wok, knives and spoons, a few stainless steel bowls, and a stove with a Chinese-style (which means very strong) fire. He works in a tiny space of 21 square feet that used to be a part of his living room, and he does it in front of his clientele, who observe his every move in awe.
But if you think this is as unique as it gets in the realm of restaurants, think again. In Chez Wong there is no menu, because its creator need only look at you and exchange a few words, to what kind of dish you will like, and how he will prepare it. And that’s how the alchemy of his food happens: things are created in the spur of the moment with a few fresh ingredients and a playful creativity. The best sole, fresh from the sea, is his closest friend. And then there are the seafood, some herbs, special limes that he only buys in one specific place, and very little else. The precision of his cutting skills, and his knowledge of these pure and basic ingredients, are very hard to replicate.
It´s not a surprise that The Guardian, and Food and Wine consider Wong´s cebiche the best of the world, and recommend his restaurant as one of the top 5 in Lima. And in Mistura, the culinary festival where one can find the best work of Peruvian cooks, the longest line is invariably at his stand. Nothing compares, however, to going to the master’s home, and getting the personalized attention he gives to every single one of his customers. If you don’t mind low key, this is a gastronomical experience that should go on any food-lover’s bucket list.