Support Your Local Chifa

My Local Chinese Restaurant in Miraflores

My Local Chinese Restaurant, the Chifa Jin in Miraflores

I got back from Peru on Tuesday night—as usual in the middle of a blistering heat wave. Finally, I have enough energy to take up with my blog again, even though it’s hot enough to melt prestressed concrete outside.

Although Peruvian food is, by and large, excellent, I was surprised to see so many Chinese restaurants all over the country. In Peru, they are called chifas. Why are there so many of them? As I wrote in my blog entitled The Guano Economy, many Chinese are descended from the coolies brought over from mainland China in the 1800s to mine bird droppings from the islands off the coast of Peru.

It’s a far cry from guano to won ton soup and fried rice (called chaufa in Peru), and there are interesting differences for what passes for Chinese fare in the United States, but the quality runs from the acceptable to the delicious. The best I had was my fun with pork at the Wa Lok restaurant in Miraflores on Angamos Oeste. I liked Peruvian won ton soup better than American, because although the won tons are not wrapped around any meat, there are usually big pieces of pork and chicken along with the lasagna-like noodles.

I ate Chinese in Lima, Puno, and Machu Picchu Pueblo. In every case, the food was inexpensive and well prepared. It was nice to have a familiar backup to the usually omnipresent Peruvian cuisine.