In Mexico City, a Blossoming of All Things Japanese

On a summer season afternoon in Mexico City’s leafy Roma Norte neighborhood, a regular stream of clients crammed the tiny espresso store Raku, which implies “joy” in Japanese. While they had been drawn by the espresso, I used to be within the new spot to learn the way the proprietor Mauricio Zubirats makes a cup of matcha tea.

The superb inexperienced powder from Kyoto was measured, combined with sizzling water and — utilizing a brush created from a single piece of bamboo — whisked precisely 30 instances. The moss-colored consequence was earthy and bitter, and for a second, I used to be transported from this cafe tucked between two parking garages to Japan.

Despite being oceans aside, Mexico and Japan have lengthy been related, ever since 1614, when samurai Hasekura Tsunenaga arrived in Acapulco as the primary Japanese ambassador of New Spain. In Mexico City, a modern-day reminder of the connection seems each spring, when the jacaranda bushes — the primary of which had been planted within the 1920s on the suggestion of Tatsugoro Matsumoto, a Japanese immigrant and imperial gardener from Tokyo — burst with purple, cloudlike blooms.

Though sushi eating places are lengthy established in Mexico’s cosmopolitan capital, different Japanese-inspired companies have been sprouting up in the previous couple of years — from vogue labels and boutiques to a new lodge — together with new Japanese-influenced locations to eat and drink. (Even the acclaimed chef Enrique Olvera launched a Japanese culinary custom at Pujol; instead of sushi, the multicourse omakase menu features Mexico’s quintessential dish: tacos.)

You only have to visit what’s called Little Tokyo, in the northern part of the capital, to see for yourself. The pocket-size area is hotter than ever, mostly thanks to the Tijuana-born restaurateur Edo Lopez, whose paternal great-grandfather was born in Japan.

For Mr. Zubirats, serving coffee roasted in-house is merely a means to an end; he is happiest whisking matcha — and providing a quiet, if temporary, respite from the vibrant, loud, bustling city just outside his doors.

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