Food Review: A Taste of South America in Maido Restaurant

It is safe to say that Maido is one of the most popular destination stops in the entirety of Lima, Peru. The restaurant is one of the biggest attractions this Peruvian city offers guests and we are about to tell you every reason.

Maido is listed as the #2 restaurant in all of Lima by Trip Advisor and has been talked about, reviewed and critiqued for decades.

Best of Peru Travel says that Maido is an ‘excellent choice for an introduction to Peruvian Nikkei cuisine in a laid back setting with great service and an exquisite menu.’

Peruvian Nikkei Cuisine Explained

Peruvian Nikkei Cuisine

What exactly is Peruvian Nikkei cuisine and why is it so loved and eaten across the globe?

Nikkei cuisine is a fusion of Peruvian and Japanese foods. The blend of two beloved cultures is inspired by the intricate flavors and meditative techniques used by Japanese immigrants who came to Peru in the late 19th century.

Peruvian Nikkei cuisine brings to the plate spices and colors of Peru combined with delightfully detailed Japanese favorites. Nikkei is the latest and greatest in gastronomic sensations to hit the culinary hot spots in Europe.

Did you know that Peru has the second largest Japanese population in South America behind Brazil?

Since the Japanese made their mark in Peru, they have been infusing the culture and most importantly, the food, with their culinary genius and finesse.

Chef Mitsuharu Tsumura and Maido

Chef Mitsuharu Tsumura

The glorified Chef Mitsuharu Tsumura is the creator and founder of the world renowned Maido in Lima, Peru. The restaurant is placed 11th on the San Pellegrino list of the 50 best restaurants in Latin America.

Chef Tsumura was born in Lima and is of Japanese-Peruvian descent. Since he was a young boy, he has been surrounded by food and the culture of the kitchen. He attended culinary school in Providence, Rhode Island, at Johnson & Wales University.

After graduation, Tsumura returned to his hometown before heading to Japan to learn the art and craft of sushi. The dedicated chef spent years under the wing of the owner of the famous Seto Sushi in Japan.

Tsumura was beckoned to work back in Peru by Sheraton and made his way back home to become the sous chef and then the food and beverage manager. Mitsuharu Tsumura was invited to become the general manager of the Sheraton by age 28, but turned down the offer to follow his true passion.

How Maido Was Born

Following Tsumura’s declination of the Sheraton general manager position, Mitsuharu along with his father’s help, combined his steadfast determination and culinary dreams to open Maido.

Better known as Misha, Chef Tsumura created Maido from the pillar of all he knows and loves. Maido features a modern, bustling atmosphere with minimalist Japanese décor in the likes of wooden tables, black walls and large mirrors all over.

Misha wants his customers and diners to interact with their food, so most dishes are serviced without cutlery. Peru offers a diverse range of eats, herbs and produce not found in other regions of the world and Misha takes these to the next level with Maido’s menu.

Maido was opened in the year 2009 and has been dishing out culinary perfection ever since. Chef Tsumura has been featured as a judge on Master Chef as well as taken part in many famous international gastronomic events in recent years.

In 2016, Misha opened a second restaurant called Sushi Pop at two separate locations in Lima, Peru. He also put his name to Aji in Macau, where his signature Nikkei flavors are delighted in daily. Misha also has a Nikkei restaurant in Karai in the W Hotel located in Santiago, Chile.

The Best of the Best of Maido

The word ‘maido’ means ‘welcome’ in Japanese and this is precisely what Maido entails. The popular restaurant is located in the flourishing Miraflores suburb of Lima, Peru. The staff is known for their knowledgeable and friendly service and guests will be pleasantly surprised by how down to earth Maido’s atmosphere is.

Be sure to make reservations far in advance if you wish to sit at a seat in one of the world’s best restaurants. If you are lucky enough to score a table for your party, you better know what you want to try.

The traditional way to eat at Maido is their world-renowned fifteen-course meal called the ‘Nikkei Experience,’ and if you want to eat at Maido in the most proper way possible, the Nikkei Experience is the only way to dine.

The restaurant is located conveniently in the Miraflores district of Lima, just a few blocks from the beach. The area is flooded with amazing restaurants, shops, bars and things to do. Activities such as cooking classes, coastal bikes rides and gastronomic tours are among the most exciting actions to partake in around the area.

The Most Famous Maido Dishes

One of the most popular of the dishes is the Dim Sum, which varies in specific ingredients daily but it always promises to be flavor-packed and extremely appetizing. The Choripan is another crowd favorite and offers a steamed bread fish and octopus sausage, pickled vegetables and Japanese mustard.

If you are dining at Maido, it is a must to try the lapas cebiche. This creatively brilliant spin on the classic ceviche offers chullpi corn, lapas, avocado, leche de tigre and a based of powdered aji Amarillo.

Another favorite at Maido is the Catacaos de camarones. This dish features prawns inside of green rice tamale served alongside creole sauce and chupe reduction. The blast of flavor is sure to leave your taste buds in the stars far beyond the earth realms.

A dish never to be forgotten in your Maido order includes the sea urchin rice. The sea urchin rice is served with Chiclayo rice, atico sea urchins, avocado cream, wan yi and baby corn. The fusion of crunchy and creamy is simply unmatched.

The Coursed Nikkei Experience

history of maido

The menu at Maido changes constantly and is always being inspired by different regions of the world or by the freshest fish available at the time. The best option for dining at Maido is to order the Nikkei experience, which is usually around fifteen courses and also allows the opportunity to be paired with beverages.

The Appetizer Round

The Appetizer Round

The Nikkei experience typically starts with a few appetizer rounds and can feature anything from a sushi rice cracker with avocado to a trout belly smothered in ponzu gel. Each round is typically served with a paired beverage, by way of sake, beer or liquor.

Enjoy the Dim Sum Goodness

Dim Sum Goodness

After the starter rounds are ravenously gobbled down, the dim sum goodness takes the table. As mentioned above, the dim sum is one of the most popular items eaten at Maido and can feature a wide range creatively concocted dim sum dishes.

The dim sum at Maido is absolutely stunning and typically features lesser known fish and underwater creatures. Cau cau is a Maido dim sum favorite and means a tripe stew with camotillo cream.

Cau cau is usually served with the squid and sea snails and camotillo cream, which is a sand bass white fish.

Have Fun with Some Choripan

choripan with chimichurri

The course following dim sum is deemed ‘Choripan.’ As mentioned above, choripan is a dish served in a hot dog looking matter.

Imagine a fish sausage with octopus laying in a steaming bed of bread accompanied by pickled vegetables and Japanese mustard – a Nikkei hot dog of sorts. Every single review found online says that this choripan is one of the most unusually delicious treats ever tasted.

Typically, after the choripan, the experience heads to the nigiri section of the meal. Two of the freshest and hand picked offerings are delivered to the table, accompanied with a matching wine or beverage to pair with the night’s offerings.

A Unique Twist of the Ceviche Through the Lapas Cebiche

maido lapas cebiche

Next up in the Nikkei experience is the lapas cebiche, which as mentioned before, is a type of mussel with a tougher, more textured constancy. This lapas cebiche is commonly served with an unbelievably tasty aji Amarillo leche de tigre, a rare treat in the culinary world.

Shrimps, Anyone?

catacaos de camarones

The eighth course is named ‘Catacaos de camarones,’ which means shrimps of the sea, basically. The dish has been known to feature incredible sautéed river prawns wrapped in green tamale rice with veggies on the side.

The dish is reminiscent of a creole style cooking with a chupe sauce reduction complete with all the spice you need to have a party in your mouth. Usually the dinner takes a turn at course nine for a more Japanese centered dish called ‘cassava soba.’

Care for More? Have Some More Room for Soba and Sudado

soba de yuca pasta

Cassava soba offers Japanese soba noodles infused with Peruvian ingredients. A broth of shellfish stock dashi creates the quintessential Nikkei dish.

Next in show features the widely popular table served ‘sudado.’

Sudado is prepared at the table underneath a boiling flask, with bold flavors of tomato, onion and fish.  The flask cooking is known as a sudado reduction that was prepared to drape over the catch of the day, prepared in a cast iron bowl in front of you.

You Can’t Say No to Sea Urchin Rice, Can You?

sea urchin with rice

Usually, after the sudado comes the famous sea urchin rice. The dish is similar to a creamy risotto but made of sea urchin and avocado cream. This delicious Maido specialty is typically the last of the dishes before the sweeter side of Maido graces the table.

Save the Sweets for Last

Maido is not just known for its fine Nikkei cuisine and savory, flavor-packed dishes. The restaurant does just as well in their desert department and each Nikkei experience comes complete with multiple sweet treats to end the experience.

The sweetest treat of all though, is that Chef Misha himself will usually make his rounds daily to discuss the menu and say hello to patrons. That is truly the makings of a legendary chef and restaurant experience.

How Maido Compares

It is not hard to say how Maido compares to other restaurants in the Lima, Peru, and the entire world.

Since it’s opening in 2009, the restaurant has graced the tops of major magazines, online forums and notable food critics.

Maido currently sits at number eight on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and has stayed in the top ranks for years. The restaurant sits in the number seven spot on Forbes 50 best restaurant in the world as well.

Is Maido as good as people say it is? Is it worth a trip all the way to Lima, Peru, to just grab a meal?

It is that good.

It is indeed worth it.

Maido offers an experience that alone is worth a trip to the hottest restaurant in Lima, Peru. The extraordinary ingredients, their elaborate preparation, and their unbeatable flavor fuse together to create an unmatchable restaurant experience.

Chef Misha’s uncanny determination and dedication to his art and craft creates a restaurant hard to beat. Experience a truly authentic Nikkei experience by making yourself a reservation at the famous spot for your next visit to Lima.

If you are super interested in Chef Tsumura and his culinary adventures in his wildly successful life, grab yourself a copy of his book ‘Nikkei Es Peru.’ The book features incredible pictures of Nikkei food as well as the ingredients and different recipes that is easy enough to try at home.

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