Ekeko, part of Peru's plan to conquer gastronomy

The relatively unfamiliar flavors of Peru are proving to be agreeable to the taste buds at a new restaurant on Donghu Road in Shanghai.

The relatively unfamiliar flavors of Peru are proving to be agreeable to the taste buds at a new restaurant on Donghu Road in Shanghai.

Ekeko, the Peruvian restaurant, is a new concept developed on the same site of a former Spanish eatery, with the same chef, Carlos Sotomayor. The layout and interior is still the same as the previous Elefante but with a genuine Peruvian touch from the South American knick-knacks to projectors showing Peruvian landscapes and lifestyles.

Peru is now a key player on the world gastronomic stage with Peruvian restaurants popping up all over the world. And the eclectic journey of the ultimate fusion food has proved it.

Different cultures and cuisines brought to the country over the centuries have led to such a unique gastronomic tradition and styles.

Ti Gong

Sudado

Chef Sotomayor, a Peruvian native, knows how to bring out the essential tastes of his country to the local foodies. 

“Many of the flavors come from my memories growing up in the country, from family to friends and travels. Through cooking I managed to travel to different countries and kitchens, so the experiences in all these settings make my cuisine what it is today,” Sotomayor said. “We try to bring more traditional flavors in a fun and casual way at Ekeko. What is important for me is to create an emotional connection with the guests. Maybe my childhood flavors can remind them a bit of theirs as well, or some dishes that to them seem comforting too.” 

I visited Ekeko during its soft opening period and it serves one menu only. The eight-course dinner set is priced at 488 yuan (US$76.8). Each dish is accompanied by a card revealing its ingredients, origins and cultural background in Peruvian cuisine. 

Peru’s mixture of cultures is seen heavily in its fresh and delicious dishes.

The culinary journey started with a national plate Ceviche, that is an iconic creation originating from the ancients who would use a citrus fruit juice, called Tumbo, and sea salt. With the influence of the Japanese it evolved into the dish loved by people all around the world today. 


Ti Gong

Octopus Causa

The next dish was prawn “Anticucho” (grilled skewers). Instead of an Antichuco traditional of beef heart, Ekeko presented the prawns with a typical marinade and then grilled them in front of us. The Argentinian prawn meat was tender and juicy but with some grilled external crispiness. It also had a rich smoky flavor from the marinated sauce. It was definitely one of my favorites on the food journey.

Among all the flavorsome dishes, Sudado was an excellent plate, which included cooking fish in a spiced broth, typical along the coast of Peru with many variations. This particular Sudado, prepared by chef Sotomayor, honors the northern coastal cuisine. Fata cooking paper is used so all the flavors and juices remain together. 

The service was delightful. The chef came to our table and greeted the guests while the manager dealt with any request professionally and smoothly. The Peruvian tastes, along with the authentic Pisco sour, proved Ekeko a good option for dining in town. 

The restaurant also offers an a-la-carte menu featuring some of the signature dishes from cold and hot tapas to main courses.

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