Kion Peruvian Chinese, a unique, high-end ‘Chifa’ in the heart of Cusco.
Kion Peruvian Chinese is without a doubt the best Peruvian Chinese restaurant in Cusco. It is a welcome change from the tourist restaurants that abound in Cusco and offer mainly generic menu options. Upmarket and elegant, the decor is inspired by the aesthetic of 1950’s Hong Kong with a modern style that evokes the Cantonese culture. Kion is located just one block from Cusco’s Plaza de Armas or Main Square.
Peruvian Chinese cuisine has become one of the country’s most popular types of cuisine with over 6,000 ‘chifas’ or Peruvian Chinese restaurants in Lima alone! In the mid-to-late 19th and early 20th centuries, thousands of Chinese immigrants came to Peru to work on the sugar plantations and mines to fill a labour shortage after Peru abolished slavery.
They brought Chinese Cantonese elements from their homeland which they then mixed with local Peruvian ingredients and traditions. Thus creating the delicious authentic Peruvian Chinese cuisine we know today as ‘chifa’ from the Cantonese word ‘chi fan’ which means ‘to eat rice’.
We weren’t too familiar with the traditional Peruvian ‘chaufa’, so were guided by manager Carol to start with some Dim Sum. This traditional Chinese cuisine offers small bite-sized portions served in small steamer baskets or on small plates to share.
We tried the ‘Buti Kion’, mini sandwiches made with steamed bread called ‘Min Pao’ which came filled with roast duck. The meat was slightly spicy and balanced nicely with the sweetness of the min pao bread and the crunchy texture of the onion. An interesting bite-size dish.
The ‘Kao Choi Yu’ were exquisite. 4 mini ‘empanadas’ made with steamed rice dough – a soft, mouthful with trout and langoustine that subtly put their stamp on this dish. It came served with a citrus lemon, limo chilli and sesame sauce that adds subtle, delicate flavours.
For mains, the typical Peruvian ‘lomo saltado’ with a ‘chifa’ touch was served with Chinese pancakes that you eat with your hands and was an exquisite choice. The beef was tender and the sauce made of ginger, hoisin, oyster and soy was sweet and added depth along with the crunchy stir-fried vegetables.
Duck is one of the principal ingredients on the menu at Kion, so we opted to try the Ti Pa Kay. The duck was almost ‘confit’ or candied and was crispy on the outside and melt in the mouth tender on the inside. The pineapple and peach in the sauce added the sweet flavour while the tamarind and golden inca berry added the sour element to balance this dish.
The wantan soup was a meal in itself and we were impressed by the delicate flavours. The richness of the broth, the sweetness of the wantan and the mix of langoustine, pork and duck make it a tasty option for a main course.
Kion uses all the typical elements of Peruvian Chinese cuisine with higher standards than anywhere else in Cusco. They use fresh, local ingredients with no MSG and the idea is that you can come back 6 or 7 times and try something new from the menu each time.
Kion Peruvian Chinese is the newest offering from Cusco Restaurants and it is without a doubt one of our new favourite places to eat when in Cusco. It provides a nice mix of ‘traditional’ Peruvian Chinese cuisine in an up-market, elegant setting. Definitely one to try!
Best of Peru Travel Recommends:
- The Kion experience is all about sharing. Order several starters and mains to share so you can try a variety of different dishes.
- In China, traditionally you drink tea with your Dim Sum. To try this tradition order green tea or jasmine tea with your starter.
- If you are looking for a sweet note for desert, try the lychee and mango. A delicious caramel sauce is offset by fresh lychee and mango fruit. The granita kion is a zingy ginger sorbet served with a refreshing mango sauce for a lighter option.