There were three fine chefs from Peru, who reached KL not by canoe; they brought with them limes from Lima, and left us in a food coma.
Thanks to the Ritz-Carlton for this invitation to check out Peruvian Gastronomic Week, which runs through Oct. 16 at this Bukit Bintang hotel's first-level Cesar's restaurant.
Culinary wizards led by Chef Rafael Lopez-Aliaga of the JW Marriott in Lima are working major South American magic in Southeast Asia, conjuring platters of ceviche, pots of creamy potatoes & glasses of Pisco Sour cocktails for nightly buffet feasts.
Recipes here reflect gastronomic globalization at its richest _ centuries of crop cultivation in Peru interposed with Italian, Chinese & Japanese immigration to create food that traces its lineage not only to Arequipa but Florence, Guangzhou & Okinawa too.
Corn-laced rice & shrimp-laden soups, citrus-cured seafood & cilantro-stewed meat in exotically esoteric recipes whose names won't roll easily off our tongues but whose flavors slide ecstatically over our taste buds.
For customers craving "choros a la chalaca" _ Peruvian port-style mussels steamed with salsa _ taking a taxi to KL's Ritz-Carlton is mercifully more convenient than booking a KL-Amsterdam-Buenos Aires-Lima flight.
Have it raw (or not): "tiradito," uncooked tuna with avocados in a spicy sauce, sharing a counter with meticulously stewed seafood in yellow chili gravies.
Duck, beef, chicken & lamb, prepared with herbs & spices carried by the chefs into KL. Some of the flavors here are familiar, others tickle our palates and imaginations with tantalizingly unrecognizable components (what's a Huacatay leaf?!?).
It might seem impossible to pull oneself away from the plump scallops at the ceviche section, but save space for cakes & puddings, all fascinatingly flavored too.
From mousse tinged with "lucuma" subtropical fruits from the Andean valleys to meringue topped with "cherimoya" _ famously hailed by Mark Twain as "the most delicious fruit known to man" _ these make a fitting finish to this fine feast.
Bid "buenas noches": Pisco Sours (grape brandy, lime, syrup, egg white & Angostura bitters) or for teetotalers, the "chicha morada," a complex beverage of purple corn, pineapple, cinnamon & cloves. The buffet's RM180++ price tag includes two servings.
Peruvian Gastronomic Week @ Cesar's,
Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur.
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