Café Somos, a new café in Lyon, serves sweet treats, empanadas and much more.
Peruvian cuisine comes to Lyon with new bistro Krioya
By Claudia Quiros
Peruvian cuisine in Lyon, a growing sensation
Peruvian cuisine has been a growing sensation worldwide over the past decade, consistently topping lists of best culinary destinations, and now it’s finally invading the gastronomic capital of France.
Over the past few years, the famously insular Lyonnais people began to familiarize themselves more to international food, Latin and South American flavors, with the opening of several Brazilian, Argentinian and Venezuelan bistros, as well as Miraflores, Lyon’s first Peruvian restaurant to receive a Michelin star.
Owing its notoriety to the country’s cultural and biological diversity, Peruvian cuisine is characterized by the immense variety and eclectic nature of its dishes.
Krioya, a new Peruvian cantine that opened in the Saxe-Gambetta (Lyon 7) area in January, offers a unique approach to showcasing Peruvian food.
By offering dishes from different regions of Peru – costa (the coast), sierra (the highlands) and selva (the Amazonian rainforest), Krioya tells the story of Peru’s history through its street food-inspired recipes.
An explosion of flavors inspired by an amalgam of cultures
The diversity of colors and flavors in Peruvian cuisine comes from a blend of ingredients from a wide variety of influences.
Criolla cuisine, with its mixed Spanish, African and indigenous influences, was created by West African slaves in the kitchens of ruling Spanish colonizers, and put Peruvian food on the map.
Other influences can be traced back to the indigenous peoples of the Andes and the Amazon, as well new cooking techniques brought over by Chinese and Japanese migrants in the 19th century, which molded modern Peruvian chifa, or Peruvian-Chinese fusion food.
“Peruvian food is delicious, and it’s so diverse. I wanted people to learn more about Peru through its food,” says Krioya’s manager, Veronica Moreno.
“I wanted to show the Asian influence in our culture through our wok and noodle dishes. We also serve anticuchos (marinated beef chunks served on skewers), which come from our African ancestors from Chincha. We use typical Peruvian ingredients like ají amarillo [yellow chili pepper native to Peru], huancaina [a spicy, creamy sauce originating from the Andean city Huancayo], and our salads contain superfruits from the Amazon.”
Moreno grew up in the coastal city of Tumbes, in northwestern Peru.
“My parents were farmers, and that’s where I got my obsession with different smells and tastes,” she said.
Not a stereotypical Peruvian cuisine restaurant decorated with photos of Machu Picchu
“Growing up, I would taste everything.” Her aunt taught her how to make ceviche, a dish of fresh raw fish cured in fresh lime juice and spiced with ají, which remains her favorite dish to this day.
From attending culinary school in France she learned about the “rigor” of French cuisine, as well as the importance of mise en place in cooking, or ensuring every ingredient plays its role in forming a dish.
It is indeed a blend of unique ingredients that elevate flavors in Peruvian cuisine, and Moreno is well aware of this. In addition to selling imported Peruvian products at Krioya, she grows the ají amarillo and huacatay (a marigold plant native to South America which is commonly crushed into a black mint paste) with which she cooks in the backyard of her home in Vienne.
But her vision for Krioya was not to open a stereotypical Peruvian restaurant decorated with photos of Machu Picchu and set to a soundtrack of pan flute music; instead, along with her business partner Frenchman Julien Meunier (himself married to a Peruvian), she had the vision for attracting a younger, hipper clientele by showcasing Peru’s incredible diversity in a more approachable way.
An authentic taste of Peruvian street food in Lyon
With its colorful and inviting décor, Krioya maintains the relaxed and unpretentious ambiance of a typical cevichería or chifería in Peru, where you seat yourself at the counter and order lunch from a familiar face.
Their ceviche bar offers six different varieties of the refreshing dish, including a delicious vegan option, and their gorgeous salads and chifa wok dishes are not to be missed.
Curious to taste a bit of everything? Be sure to order a piqueo, an array of five different tapa-sized versions of some of Peru’s most traditional recipes.
Be sure to leave room for dessert, as their homemade alfajores, or traditional cookies filled with dulce de leche, and lime pie are exceptional. Krioya is also home to quite frankly, and I write this as a Peruvian, the best pisco sour I’ve tasted in Europe.
Krioya is open for lunch and dinner Tuesdays through Saturdays.
33 Rue de la Thibaudière, 69007 Lyon
Tel. : +33 975274839