In an effort to redefine how the rest of the world sees it, Peru has turned to its cuisine to tempt tourists to visit. And it seems to be working. Read here from NPR how gastronomic tourism is redefining how the world views Peru.
Danny Kou, the executive chef at La Mar, an upscale Peruvian restaurant in San Francisco, says it’s a good time to be him.
Kou moved from Lima to the United States when he was 21. It was 2001, and back then, Peruvian cuisine was still unfamiliar in North America.
But in the last few years, there ‘s been an explosion of Peruvian restaurants in major cities all over the U.S. Last year, the American Restaurant Association named the cuisine a top food trend.
“I’ll tell you, nowadays, every week or two, people come to me. They want to give me money to start another Peruvian restaurant,” Kou says, with a chuckle. “I keep having to tell them, ‘No, thank you, I am very happy where I am.’ ”
Kou says there’s a simple explanation for why Peruvian cuisine has become so trendy: “It’s just very, very good.”
True, but it’s also more complicated than that. Over the past decade, the Peruvian government has been making a very deliberate effort to popularize its cuisine worldwide. It’s a strategy that a growing number of middle-income countries are adopting as they look to flex their muscles on the international stage.
“Think – if you’re Peru, Mexico or Korea, you are not going to be major nuclear proliferators,” says Johanna Mendelson-Forman, a policy expert on international conflict. “But maybe you can hope to become the world’s No. 1 culinary destination.”
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