A simple carved stone placard and glass door on a well-traveled cobble-stoned street of Cusco reveals little of what awaits up the paper lantern-illuminated staircase just beyond. Upon entering, senses awake with the smooth sounds of Chinese flutes and the aroma of soy sauce, sweet tamarind, and deep fried meats. The smell and the sounds all but carry one up the stairs into the dimly lit dining room, an oasis carrying all of the familiar elements of Chinese design and architecture. Intricately patterned wood screens separate one dining area from the next while chopsticks sit perched on their pedestals awaiting their diner to sit down for an unforgettable meal of Peruvian Chinese fusion cuisine.
This is KION, an upscale “chifa”-style dining experience located in the heart of Cusco and the latest addition to the Cusco Restaurants collection. Their vision for the space was to create a dining experience previously unavailable in Cusco, Chinese Peruvian cuisine in a stylish setting. It’s a concept they have seen explode in Lima and northern Peru and a cuisine that has been winning hearts and stomachs over for two centuries already.
Peruvian Chinese fusion cuisine took root in the mid-1800s when more than 100,000 Chinese indentured laborers crossed the Pacific to work in Peru. Over time as immigration continued and these laborers began to progress economically, they yearned for the food of their homeland, marking the introduction of imported Cantonese ingredients to Peru. Rice paddies were cultivated in the north and the first Chinese Peruvian restaurants were opened in Lima at the turn of the century. Still lacking all of the ingredients necessary to recreate the authentic dishes of home, the Chinese incorporated many local Peruvian ingredients into their recipes resulting in some of today’s most popular Peruvian and chifa dishes like lomo saltado and arroz chaufa.
Min pao, arroz chaufa, and lychee & mango are just a few of the dishes on offer at KION. Principle Chef Henry Bedon believes energy, passion, and adrenaline are the basic elements to creating innovative oriental dishes with distinctly Peruvian flavors. Bedon came to KION with 12 years experience in crafting chifa cuisine and a long-standing passion for cooking. It was his father who encouraged him from the age of 11 to get more in touch with his gastronomic sense. With this level of experience and passion for the cuisine, it didn’t take long for Bedon’s name to rise to the top as Cusco Restaurants was searching for a chef to lead their newest restaurant venture. Located mere steps from Cusco’s Plaza de Armas, KION is truly an under-the-radar gem knocking this previously absent chifa concept out of the park. Stop by for lunch, dinner, or even a drink at their impressive bar. The house Pisco Sour is one worthy of a “Cusco’s Best” title. For a more romantic and cozy escape, dine after dark to best experience KION’s buzz-worthy atmosphere.
For more information about KION as well as Cusco Restaurants’ 6 other unique dining options, visit cuscorestaurants.com.