Peruvian Chifa Cuisine in Lima's Chinatown
Peruvian Chifa cuisine (a Chinese-Cantonese-Peruvian fusion), has been taking the gastronomic scene by storm in recent years. Peruvian cuisine already has an impressive culinary tradition, with its wildly different ingredients and cooking styles, differing from region to region. Chifa, no doubt, has become one of the most popular types of food in Peru and a trip to the country isn't complete without a proper Chifa meal paired with a chilled Inca Kola.
What is Chifa?
Chifa is a culinary tradition that mixes Chinese Cantonese foods with Peruvian ingredients and traditions. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, there was a large wave of Chinese immigrants that came to settle in Peru. Most of them were from Guangzhou, a large city in Southern China. Their settlements were mostly along Peru's coast and in the capital city, Lima.
Due to the lack of authentic ingredients, the Chinese immigrants in Lima were unable to properly prepare their cuisine, leading them to use Peruvian foods and ingredients when cooking. The local Limenos quickly became amazed with this type of fusion food, due to the bittersweet flavors, soups and dishes that used ginger, soy sauce and scallions.
Popular Chifa Dishes
Arroz Chaufa: Cantonese-Peruvian fried rice
Tallarin Saltado: Cantonese-Peruvian Chow Mein
Wanton Frito: Fried wonton
Gallina Tipa Kay: Sweet and Sour Chicken
Sopa Wantan: Cantonese-Peruvian Wonton soup
Lomo Saltado: Beef and vegetable stir-fry
Aeropuerto: Fried Rice, Chow Mein with an Omelette
Siu Mai/Dim Sum: Steamed bite-size foods
Where to Eat Chifa in Peru?
In Peru, there are Chifa restaurants around ever corner. This type of cuisine has become so popular, that there are often more Chifa restaurants than traditional Peruvian Criolla. In Lima, we recommend trying Madam Tusan, located in Miraflores or Maestro Tzu, in Larcomar. We also recommend Chifa Union in Barranco (this is a more traditional style Chifa, and not as fancy as the previous two recommendations).
For those who would like to get the cultural experience of visiting Lima’s Chinatown (locally knows as Barrio Chino), we highly recommend booking a food tour through the neighborhood. There you will see where the Chifa cuisine began and have the opportunity to eat at a traditional Cantonese restaurant.
What to do in Chinatown and How to Get There
Lima’s Chinatown is located in the Historic Center of Lima (the downtown). It’s very small, spanning only about two blocks, block 7 and 8 of Jirón Ucayali (Ucayali Street). The best way to get there is by private tour, as that part of town is a little disorganized and street names are not often clear or well labelled. By private tour your will also learn the history of the neighborhood and your guide can recommend you the best restaurants and traditional stores in the area.
The best thing to do in Chinatown is to eat Chifa, the birthplace of this mouth-watering cuisine. Other than tasting authentic Cantonese-Peruvian food, you can visit the local nearby market in the area, learn about exotic spices and teas, people watch and shop around for Chinese trinkets.
For more information about visiting Lima’s Chinatown, or trying Peruvian Chifa cuisine, please contact us or call 1-888-215-3555.