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There’s no doubt that Peru and China are two of the best destinations for foodies in the world. But what if these two cuisines combine into one? Made with an amazing blend of Peruvian and Chinese ingredients, Chifa cuisine is something you need to try for yourself.
When you think of fusion food, the first thing that comes to your mind may be quick snacks such as California Maki, However, there’s one more food fusion that needs to be on your radar – Chifa cuisine. Filled with unbelievable tastes, textures, and flavors that will excite your taste buds, Chifa will surely become your new favorite.
Surprisingly, Chifa is not new. It first emerged when Chinese immigrants arrived in Peru in 1849 to work in sugar plantations, railroad constructions, and mines. The cuisine fusion became even more popular in the 19th and 20th centuries when more migrants arrived. Chinese food has become so common in Peru that it began to influence Andean and Peruvian dishes, and in time, it emerged as an authentic cuisine called Chifa which mostly consists of stir-fries, tangy sauces, soups, noodles, and fried rice.
We’ve gathered our favorite Chifa dishes so you know what to order in a Chifa restaurant near you.
Also known as Chaufa, this is one of the most popular Chifa dishes. Chaufa literally means fried rice in Cantonese and it is a dish mixed with vegetables, Chinese onions, eggs, ginger, chicken, soy sauce, and rice. This can also be prepared with other meats. A cook who specializes in this dish is called Chaufero.
Although now considered as a traditional Peruvian food, Lomo Saltado is of Chinese and Peruvian descent. This dish consists of beef strips fried to perfection with onions, potatoes, and aji Amarillo. To amp up the flavor even more, Aji Amarillo is added with cilantro, soy sauce, and garlic.
Tallarin Saltado is the perfect blend of Chinese signature noodles and Peruvian flavor. This dish is made with Peruvian-style linguine with beef tenderloin, chicken, and tons of fried vegetables. The meat in Tallarin Saltado is salted with soy sauce in true Chinese traditional style, and also Andean Pepper which is common in Peru’s criollo dishes.
Pollo Cinco Sabores
This colorful dish will give you comfort in a place. To make it, boneless pieces of chicken are coated in yummy batter and then deep-fried before it is covered in tangy tamarind sauce. The dish is usually served with egg omelet, fried noodles, pineapple, pickled turnip, and ginger.
Good Chifa restaurants in the states are rare, but not entirely non-existent, you don’t have to fly to Peru to get a taste of Chifa. A few restaurants are established in New York City, and if you are in Los Angeles, you just need to stop by at Eagle Rock. Humberto Leon of fashion brand Opening Ceremony just opened Chifa – a restaurant that looks like it was plucked out straight from a Wong Kar Wai film. Chifa is ready to impress diners with their amazing take on Chinese and Peruvian Cuisine.
According to the owner, the establishment is a reboot of the restaurant of his mother Wendy Leon which opened in Peru more than four decades ago before their family moved to the US. Wendy has long been a part of her son’s career in fashion and usually cooks for events. The restaurant’s chief executive and the chief operating officer is Ricardina “Rica” Leo, and her husband John serves as the executive chef.
Despite opening just two days following the Los Angeles County lockdown on outdoor dining due to the pandemic, the restaurant is continuing to make waves in the culinary world.
“In many ways, I feel like [we] opened at the perfect time because we had the experience of the pandemic happening [while we were planning], and we’ve been able to create a flexible model that can work,” shared Humberto.