Looking for bold flavors and unique dishes that you can't find anywhere else? Go to world-renowned Chef José Andrés' Washington, D.C., restaurant China Chilcano, which fuses Peruvian dishes with contemporary touches from the country's diverse heritage, including native Criollo, Chinese Chifa and Japanese Nikkei culinary styles.
Munch on Chinese-influenced dim sum offerings such as Kam Lu Wantan – fried shrimp pork dumplings – or Pegao Norteno, lamb pot sticker. Find the union between Chinese and Peruvian cuisine in such dishes as Lomo Saltado – prime strip steak with tomato and soy sauce – and Langosta Kung Fu, whole lobster with chicha de jora and smoked black pepper.
Sink your teeth into these "sanguches" (sandwiches) at China Chilcano — Photo courtesy of China Chilcano
Find the Japanese influences with daily offerings of sashimi and nigiris selections, like tuna and barbecue eel. Check out the "Peruvian to the Bone" selections, such as Seco de Res, beef cheek stew; Aji de Gallina, chicken with aji amarillo stew; and Sudado de Pescado, which is red snapper stew.
Anticuchos, also known as Peruvian street barbecue, offers Lengua de Pato, duck tongue with cape gooseberry; Pollo, chicken thigh with potato; and Seta China, shiitake mushroom with potato. The restaurant also hopes to have a Peruvian culinary meal staple cuy (stateside known as guinea pig) on the menu soon, once a quality meat source can be found.
Be sure to order off the dessert menu, which features the iconic sweet dish of Peru: Suspiro Limena, or sweetened condensed milk custard topped with soft and crunchy meringue.
Another must-try is the Marcianos, fresh fruit popsicles with flavors like mango-aji-amarillo, passion fruit-huacatay, cherry-ginger, lucuma and guanabana.
In addition to sparkling, white and red wines and sake by the bottle, the cocktail menu includes Peruvian favorites such as a daily selection of Macerados and other drinks such as Pisco Punch, Algarrobina, Pisco Sour and Chilcano.
The bright colors and unique decor – including featured mural Two Worlds by artist Cecilia Paredes – are sure to be a conversation starter.
With 5,700 square feet to work with, the restaurant is divided into three areas: Heaven, which features the ceviche bar; Elements, offering a table by a seafood tank, where your dinner selection awaits; and Marketplace, where the mural calls home.
Located in the trendy Penn Quarter neighborhood, China Chilcano is currently open for dinner dining only, but there are plans to open for brunch and lunch in the coming months.