The magic of the “chifa”
Lima, the capital of Perú, is a huuuuuuuge city! It even has it’s very own Chinatown! Barrio Chino was one of the first places we explored when wandering Lima. Perú experienced a large influx of Asian immigrants around the same time the west coast of the United States did, in the early 1900s. Thus there is huge Chinese and Japanese influence in Perú (a former president was even Japanese-Peruvian), and this is demonstrated in the cuisine!
A “chifa” is a Chinese restaurant and chifas are prolific throughout all of Perú. Chinese food is the only type of international food that is really affordable and is eaten by the masses. Most things we’ve tried at chifas have been really different from the Chinese food we’ve had in the states. There’s definitely a Peruvian twist! You can usually get an enormous helping of lomo saltado (stir-fried rice, beef, peppers, onions, and FRENCH FRIES…pure genius!) for only 4 Soles (a little over $1). In Lima’s Chinatown prices were a little higher, but still reasonable. All chifas have basically the same menu and look the same, so we just picked one and went for it.
We got all of this for only 8.50 Soles and it was delicious! The only mistake I made was adding soy sauce. I should have know, because the one time we bought soy sauce in Ecuador it was disgusting! The soy sauce does not taste the same as we are used to, and frankly, it’s horrible. Thankfully I ate more than half my meal before I made this mistake, so at least I didn’t ruin the whole thing! Chifas are a must-try anywhere in Perú as they can always be relied upon to be filling, cheap, fast, and delicious! In addition to it’s abundance of chifas, Barrio Chino also has all the other fun parts of Chinatowns…a lot of knockoff shops, fortune tellers, and streets lined with vendors selling everything imaginable!