Commentary, Food Culture

Chef’s Sunday: Peru’s Summer Gastronomic Treat, The Boulevard of Asia

Aji de Gallina, Tragaluz

Every year, as summer begins on the coast, people from everywhere flock to the Boulevard of Asia south of Lima, especially around the beginning of the year.  Besides the innumerable parties,  there are many well known clothing stores, car dealers, movie theatres, supermarkets, banks, cafes, bakeries, and some of the finest restaurants in Peru.

However this boulevard was not always so popular or so inviting.  In its beginning it was just another set of dirt lots on the south end of Lima.  The major offering was discotheques and street carts with food after a night of drinking.  Little by little investors bet that those pieces of land would eventually bring in throngs during Lima’s summer days.  As a result of their investments Asia changed into the modern boulevard where today you can find all the comforts of the city in a single attractive place while being away from home and close to the sea.

Without any doubt, the best part of this was when the gastronomic boom arrived at the Boulevard.  The best restaurants of Lima as well as fine, new ones opened, surprising many with the high level that they offered in such a compact space where Lima goes to celebrate summer.

Carpaccio, Tragaluz
Carpaccio, Tragaluz

Competition is intense.  In only the three months of summer the restaurants must recover all that they have invested and obtain a profit.  Every year they change their menu, innovating with new ingredients.  The most used are the finest of what the Peruvian highlands and jungle can offer.

The palate of Lima’s elite is a demanding one and they have often rejected the native foods of their homeland.  When the restaurants successfully meet the challenge posed by the gastronomic boom and the demand of Lima’s movers, shakers, and upper classes, they show they can make amazing food.  But the restaurants add for themselves another challenge, which is to give an understanding of how the food arrived at the table.  They try to bring education and culinary culture to their clients.  They also attempt to show respect for nature, especially the prohibitions on using certain species, and encourage their clients to not eat in restaurants that do not follow those norms that protect species from extinction.

Tiradito, Tragaluz
Tiradito, Tragaluz

It is incredible to see the majestic dishes created with such a high level of culinary skill and technique.  They leave Peru with nothing to envy in Europe.  These results are obtained by mixing the finest of European training with Peruvian products.  In this way, classical recipes are reinterpreted and new recipes created.

Intense flavors are produced as a result, often from hours and hours of cooking.  An example is a cabrito norteño, young goat in the northern style made from an innumerable set of condiments from our north, fine meat, and careful cooking.  Another example is a cochinito confitado, suckling pork confit (slowly cooked in fat), in this case duck fat.  My God!  What flavor!

Ox Tail, Tragaluz
Ox Tail, Tragaluz

All of this is only possible because of genius, creativity, and professional work of the cooks that make it.  These are not hobbyists but the finest chefs and kitchen staff Peru produces.  There are three things, we are told, that the best chefs must have: dreams, passion, and discipline.  With them success is obtainable.

Long live the summer and the Boulevard of Asia.  For many years now it has been a complete and perfect place for you to enjoy summer with your friends and family the finest beverages and food, as well as the finest parties Peru has to offer.

Inside the Well-Known Tragaluz, Restaurant, Asia
Inside the Well-Known Tragaluz, Restaurant, Asia
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