Peruvian food has taken hold of Spain like no other new-world cuisine. Correspondent Gerry Hadden embarks on a culinary expedition through the streets of Barcelona.
Peruvian Food Takes Hold in SpainPeruvian food has taken hold of Spain like no other new-world cuisine. Correspondent Gerry Hadden embarks on a culinary expedition through the streets of Barcelona.
When the Spanish conquered the Incan Empire in Peru almost 500 years ago, they brought with them many European influences to use to blend into a new way of life….among them food. Today, the same is happening in reverse; Peruvian culture is making its way back to Spain in the form of food, introducing Europeans to the fusion of nations that makes a traditional Peruvian meal. Correspondent Gerry Hadden roams the streets of Barcelona, where there are nearly 50 Peruvian eateries, to get a taste of the philosophy that comes with the food.
A favored Barcelona standby is Ninoska’s, one of the oldest and most traditional Peruvian food joints in town. Ninoska Palomino, the owner of Ninoska’s, discusses the multi-national influence that creates the basis of Peruvian cuisine. It is not only Spain and Peru that make up this culinary fusion, but the nation’s cooking also garnered a fair amount of Chinese and African inspiration. Local Spaniards come to Ninoska’s in droves for comforting favorites like ceviche, aji chicken, and the appropriately titled “Inca Burger.”
But if Spaniards are looking for something more gastronomically cutting edge, they can always head over to Tanta, the latest restaurant belonging to Peruvian celebrity chef, Gaston Acurio. Restaurants like Tanta are modifying flavors from their native country for the Spanish palette, oftentimes meaning less spice and more presentation. Here, menu items combine traditional Peruvian favorites with modern influences: think a Japanese shrimp maki with butterfish or ceviche made with red tuna and soy sauce.
Besides restaurants, Peruvian ingredients are becoming more readily available in Spanish cities for chefs looking for new cultural inspiration. The Spanish are clearly taking a liking to the flavors of Peru, something that is bringing much success to places like Ninoska’s, Tanta, and many of the other Peruvian eateries in Barcelona.