Even though I recently became a vegetarian, I have always had a passionate love for food, new ingredients, and world cuisine, so when I heard that a new Peruvian-Japanese fusion (or “Nikkei”) restaurant was opening in Hong Kong, I couldn't wait to sample the delights of my motherland.El Mercado is a great ambassador of Peruvian cuisine, with a menu that boasts all the traditional Nikkei dishes such as Anticuchos Lomo Saltado, Tacu Tacu, and Ceviche. The menu also includes tasty vegetarian options such as Ceviche De Vegetales - a mixture of vegetables, ginger, and lime - all bursting with flavour.
Ceviche De Vegetales - $108This dish paired beautifully with a Classic Chicano - one of my favourite drinks - which consists of Pisco, lime, ginger, a dash of bitter, and ice. This simple and refreshing drink has Italian roots, but takes its name from Chilca, a city in the north of Lima. No Peruvian dining experience is complete without this tipple - it's a must try!
Classic Chilcano - $108Sophie - One of the menu highlights for me is the traditional Cochinillo Con Tacu Tacu dish, which Luis tells me originates from the African slaves who lived during the colonial times in the south of Lima. Historically, this dish was a creative way to combine leftover beans and rice, spiced with hot pepper and garlic, with suckling pig, beef, egg, and slices of fried plantain.
Cochinillo Con Tacu Tacu - $308El Mercado does a great job of bringing history to life with this plate of beautifully tender meat which falls apart in the mouth, allowing the spicy flavours of the beans and rice to come bursting through. At $308, this dish is pretty pricey, but the richness of flavours and quality of the meat make it worth every dollar! Sophie - The Nigiri Del Amazonas is equally as delicious as the Tacu Tacu, and a little more affordable too. This dish combines seared flank beef with sweet banana confit, and a quail egg which explodes in the mouth to create a soft, creamy texture.
Nigiri Del Amazonas - $68
Although this is a light bite and therefore relatively small in portion, it's a must try for meat lovers with a sweet tooth. Luis tells me this is like a version of Tacacho, a very popular dish derived from the Peruvian Amazon that consists of plantain and wild pork cecina. You can't beat a bit of history with your dinner!
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