EAGLE BEACH – Peruvian-born Roxanna Salinas is the proud owner of a restaurant that without doubt serves the purest Peruvian specialties in Aruba: Asi Es Mi Peru at Paradise Beach Villas. She herself welcomes you in ‘her home’ as that is how the restaurant is described by Peruvian foodies: Food like home, for sure the best compliment a restaurant can get. “Everything here is 100 % Peruvian, we are authentic and ethnic.” Peru by the way is considered to be the single most important cuisine in Latin America with a repertoire of dishes that might even beat France. Many big-name chefs travel to the country to get inspired.
How It All Started
“Many years ago during a Christmas gathering with family my mom told me why I did not open a Peruvian restaurant in Aruba. She said: who does not love Peruvian food?” That was the trigger for the start because Roxanne loves cooking, it is in her genes. Her mom and grandmother were great cooks. “My base principle was to do everything original and authentic. When guests come to this restaurant I want to serve them the food as if you were dining the best dishes in a house in Peru. The taste is equal, nothing is fused or changed. Many Peruvians that come here say: I feel like I am having dinner at home. It is very difficult to please Peruvians as naturally they know best what is authentic.” To find her Chef and Sous Chef she went to Peru where she interviewed 190 applicants. “We had more than 400 people that applied, after a screening that my brother and I did, we were left with 190 and out of them 10 cooked for me. I gave them a basket with ingredients and a certain plate they had to cook. Based on that I chose the Chef and Sous Chef.”
Journey through Peru
Peruvian food is remarkable for the diversity of its ingredients. It might be best known for its ceviche, the marinated seafood dish, but bestsellers are also Lomo Saltado (stir fry strips sirloin), seafood rice and Pescado a lo Macho (fish of the day). “For tourists I would highly recommend the Hot & Cold Tapas. It gives you a delicious variety of dishes of Peru, you can really taste the different flavors. A journey through Peru indeed.” Roxanne explains that there is much more to come as the Chef is working on a 3-course and 5-course surprise menu. “Now that we have standardized our typical Peruvian cuisine, we are ready to take it to the next level. Our Chef is very knowledgeable and we bring higher cuisine to the table.” She is visibly proud of her kitchen staff, all Peruvians, and the ambitious drive of ‘the woman behind the wheel’ shows its success. “We have increased our menu choices as we get many repeaters. Luckily Peru has many plates with each their own texture and taste. For our guests we included a lot of photos in the menu so they understand what the food is about and our waiters will obviously explain too.” Important to mention is that Asi Es Mi Peru offers vegetarian and vegan choices too and of course they have great ceviche on the menu. “We serve Fish Ceviche, Shrimp ceviche and Mixed Seafood Ceviche, but we custom made vary. The vegetarian is made with mushrooms, but actually any variation our Chef can prepare.”
Roxanne explains that the Peruvian food is influenced by different cultures. “A lot of people came from China to work in the sugar plantations, Japanese came to work in the rice fields and African immigrants brought their influences as well… that’s why you see a fusion in the dishes. The typical food and plates from Peru mixed with these influences make up for an excellent cuisine. Our sushi for example is totally different than the standard sushi and we have so many pastas that are outside of Italian pastas. The variety of corn, more than 500 variety of potatoes… I can go on and on.” I guess you will need to try it for yourself as Roxanne’s place is unique. Asi Es Mi Peru is open every day from 12 noon – 10:30 pm. They are closed on Monday evening. Have a peak on their website https://www.asiesmiperuenaruba.com/ or Facebook así es mi perú.