Nikkei cuisine: The Japanese-Peruvian Culinary Sensation at INTI, Nairobi

Nairobi’s food scene is diversifying rapidly. A few years ago, the word Nikkei in the fine dining scene, was almost unheard of if not met with a blank strange quizzical look. But today, things have changed. When you hear the words Nikkei cuisine, reactions are bound to be an excited “You mean INTI? I want to go. I heard so much about it!”

INTI – A Nikkei Experience has become the latest gastronomic sensation to hit the capital city of Nairobi and continent at large, serving the finest Nikkei cuisine. (Did you know INTI, Nairobi is the first Nikkei restaurant in Africa?). It is located on the 20th Floor of One Africa Place, Waiyaki Way. Nikkei food is celebrated as an emblematic of two nation’s immigration history and rich ethnic diversity, in short broadly defined as Peruvian and Japanese fusion food.

It is often said that one of the best ways to learn about cultural history is through food (it’s origin) and who doesn’t appreciate food history right? Nikkei cuisine was born in 1889 when Japanese farmers moved to Peru to work in sugar cane fields. Lacking many of their traditional ingredients, they began using Japanese cooking techniques with Peruvian ingredients they could find locally. This gave birth to an inspiring and unique cuisine known as Nikkei, which in simpler terms, was born as a result of the fusion of Japanese recipes and traditions with Peruvian ingredients.

Today, it is arguably the most successful sub-genre of Peruvian food to have made its mark in the global culinary market, with Nairobi not being left behind. INTI – A Nikkei Experience, one of Nairobi’s most instagrammable restaurants, centers around this and celebrates the marriage of Japanese & Peruvian food cultures in a unique contemporary urban environment.

Nikkei food is Peruvian ingredients — tropical ­Fish, quinoa, aji amarillo peppers — molded by Japanese techniques. Multiple chefs cite the modern preparation for ceviche as particularly indicative of the Nikkei style. Each plate that comes is more colorful and beautiful than the next, leaving you with a sweet tongue tantalizing flavor- simple delicious. If you are not sure of what to order, please ask for assistance. The staff at INTI will assist and recommend something for you.  

A famous Chef once said, “Nikkei is strong in flavors, bold and spicy. Japanese cuisine is more classical music with light and natural flavors. What Nikkei has done is find the perfect balance. In the case of sushi, all you need is rice, fish, and soy sauce. With Nikkei, you do not only have fish, rice, and soy sauce but you also add lime, chilies and spices to the soy sauce to give it a kick. When you add soy sauce to a ceviche you are lowering the heat and creating a nice balance. Nikkei is about finding this balance.”

Be ready for a whole new dining experience that includes ceviche, tiradito, maki with octopus, sushi, causa, tiraditos, and lots of Japanese craft spirits. Those who love sushi and spice will find that it is not hard to fall in love with Nikkei. While Japanese cuisine is often described as light and pure, the Peruvian influence adds intensity and flavour in Nikkei dishes. It hits the right spot for any food lover.

For a first date or that special occasion, INTI will blow your mind. This is the kind of place to create lasting impressions and great memories against the backdrop of the glorious sunset in the evening through the huge curved glass windows offering a scenic view of the city of Nairobi, as you enjoy your lunch/ dinner.

A few housekeeping rules at INTI; you must make a reservation and they do have a dress code- Smart Casual (Vest, Shorts, Flip Flops, Sportswear & Caps are NOT permitted). 

Note (New Normal Timings); INTI is open from Tuesday- Sunday from 12.00 pm. They have taken all the necessary measures outlined by the Govt on Covid- 19 protection. They will check your temperature before you enter the establishment. Thereafter you will be required to wash your hands with soap and water/ sanitize. You are also required to have your mask on at all times, unless when eating.

Please note, this piece/ shoot was done before the Govt made a directive regarding the no sale of alcoholic drinks at any eateries/ restaurants. As of now, there is a ban on sale of alcohol in all restaurants & eateries for the 30 days effective 27th July 2020.

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