My first introduction to the culinary scene of Washington, D.C. was none other than Chef José Andrés. In 2006, I was living in North Carolina at the time and a new colleague had previously worked at Zaytinya in Washington, D.C. She told me all about tapas. I had to try these tapas. The following year I relocated to D.C. and Zaytinya was one of the first restaurants I dined. The food was amazing.
At the time, Chef José Andrés had Zaytinya, Oyamel and Jaleo. Chef José Andrés passion for food has since gone well outside the realm of any restaurant once he started World Central Kitchen. This dynamic organization was started after the 2010 disastrous earthquake in Haiti with the concept of food being a positive agent of change during a natural disaster. More recently, his organization has fed thousands in Puerto Rico after the horrendous hurricane, Maria, devastated the gorgeous island.
The past decade I have lived here it has been incredible watching the different directions he has taken his restaurants both in the Metropolitan area and abroad. I had the pleasure of dining at China Chilcano recently for the second time. Not only was I was more impressed this time around but I was blown away by the creativity and flavor explosions from each dish. China Chilcano deliciously crosses Peruvian cuisine and Japanese Nikkei cuisines.
Chef Carlos Delgado is a master of his culinary craft and embodies the values that Chef José Andrés sets at each of his establishments. Personable. Professional. Talented.
This exciting culinary journey effortlessly balances the flavors of Peru and Japan. I have an adventurous palate which has been a perfect fit living in this international city. I have had the luxury to taste different foods from all over the world right in my backyard. Tasted foods I had never heard of or foods I swore when I was little I would not eat.
The Japanese-inspired Ceviche Nikkei was one of my favorite dishes. Ingredients include bigeye tuna, soy-cured egg, ponzu, and puffed quinoa. Stir the egg first before taking your first bite. The subtle saltiness of the soy sauce paired with the ponzu creates that umami taste awakens your senses with each bite.
The Pegao Norteño is as delicious as it is beautiful to the eye. The crispy cumin lace creation rests on top of lamp pot stickers, aderezo norteño and topped with edible gold flakes. I was in awe of the creativity and plating of this dish.
I love steamed dumplings. China Chilcano’s dumplings were like little works of delicious art!
This adventurous palate of mine did try the duck tongue. The flavors of the dish were well-balanced but personally not a huge fan of this part of the animal. I can say I tried it but I will stick with eating duck breast.
China Chilcano’s desserts are as decadent and memorable as their entrees. The Suspiro Limeña is now one of my all-time favorites desserts and set the bar. This famous Peruvian dessert captured my palate with its smooth tart passion fruit custard topped with soft and crunchy meringue. The textures of this dessert is a journey in itself.
Ponderaciones de Kiwicha is truly a signature dessert at China Chicano. Playful plating with a variety of textures and Peruvian flavors. Algarrobina Peruvian chocolate ice cream surrounds the crispy spiraled cookie with a dusting of Pure Nacional Caco and banana slices. According to China Chilcano’s website, “The name honors the Peruvian farmer, Fortunato, and the mother tree of the rare Pure National Cacao trees that grow in his Marañón Canyon farm.”