“Let’s have chifa for lunch today”. It is a phrase that is uttered at least once a week in every Peruvian household. The chifa peruano is a gastronomic specialty that, because it is so delicious and accessible, is part of the daily life of all Peruvians. Have you ever heard of this type of food?
In this article we will explain the basics about chifa. Its origin, ingredients, techniques and we will take you on a journey through the 5 essential dishes if you have already decided to visit a chifa restaurant. You will work up an appetite! So let’s get started.
Chifa Peruano: what are we talking about?
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It is known worldwide that Peru is the most important gastronomic destination in Latin America. Its emblematic dishes such as cebiche, pollo a la brasa or causa limeña are known all over the world and are already prepared in all kinds of restaurants in the five continents, but there are still some recipes that until now have remained a closely guarded secret, only for those who live in our beautiful country. One of those secrets is the chifa peruano.
If you have never heard of chifa peruano, let us explain what it is all about. The chifa fuses Chinese and Peruvian gastronomy. It is a multicultural culinary experience that has almost two centuries of history.
The Peruvian chifa materializes in the kitchen the encounter of two millenary worlds, geographically distant, which in the 19th century had a great sense of fraternity to sit at the table.
Its founders were the first Cantonese Chinese migrants who came to Peru to work in haciendas on the coast. They brought their love for rice and their way of cooking it in the wok. As they settled in the new country, they incorporated local ingredients into their cuisine, and this mixture gradually won the hearts not only of the Chinese community but also of us Peruvians.
Today it is a national tradition that is gradually making its way into the world.
Top 5: What you can’t miss in a chifa restaurant
If you have already decided to live the chifa experience, we want to tell you about the five most popular dishes in this type of food. Keep in mind that each family and each restaurant puts its own unique touch to the preparation of these recipes, so there is a whole culinary world to discover.
Let’s take a look at our top 5: chifa peruano must-try dishes. All of them are delicious!
1.- Lomo Saltado
A dish that is emblematic of Peru and that you can’t miss in a chifa restaurant is the lomo saltado. The recipe is based on beef and combines vegetables and black sauces giving it a unique flavor.
The protein is cut into strips or pieces and must be previously marinated. The searing is done in the pan using the wok stir-fry technique (The “saltado”), over high heat, with a little fat. In this way, the meat cooks quickly and forms a crunchy and delicate skin on the outside which gives it a very special sweet flavor, while inside the tenderloin remains tender and juicy. Vegetables are added and cooked al dente to preserve their nutritional properties and a spectacular taste.
2.- Chijaukay Chicken
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This is a delicious chicken battered in egg white and potato flour accompanied with a salty sauce with a unique flavor. The result, a crunchy chicken, salted and delicious, with a base of oyster sauce, mensi and sillao, plus small pieces of Chinese onion. It is usually served with chaufa rice or white rice.
3.- Tipakay Chicken
Typical Chinese-Peruvian dish. It could be said that it is a version of Chijaukay chicken but sweet. It is an exotic delight to the palate, with sweet and sour flavors that are protagonists. The dish is composed of sliced and fried chicken breasts, bathed in a tamarind sauce with pineapple chunks and holantao.
This dish is usually served with chaufa or white rice and fried wantan.
4.- Wantan Soup
In a good Peruvian chifa restaurant there will always be a wantan soup to offer as a starter. The wantan soup is prepared with pieces of chicken breast and stuffed wantan that are prepared with a thin dough filled with meat, very similar to stuffed corn dumplings, but in this case it is wheat.
In addition, vegetables such as Chinese cabbage, Chinese noodles and chopped onion sprigs are integrated into the soup.
A more robust version of this succulent soup is the special wantan soup, which in addition to all of the above includes other meats such as roast pork and delicious quail eggs.
5.- Chaufa rice
And we close with the most popular chifa peruano dish. There is no Peruvian who does not know the arroz chaufa. It is the Peruvian version of the typical Chinese fried rice, accompanied by various chopped meats, all prepared in a “sautéed” way, always with soy sauce. It can be chicken, seafood or special, which is the one with all the proteins. It can be eaten as a main dish or as a garnish for other chifa dishes.
I am in Miami and I am looking for a Peruvian chifa near me: Come to Chifa Dukang!
If you are in Miami and want to taste an authentic chifa experience, your best option is to visit us at Chifa Dukang.
We are masters in the preparation of delicious Chinese Peruvian fusion dishes, we can take you on a trip straight to the heart of Peru! Come and meet us, we are located at Kendall and Bird Road. We are waiting for you with your friends or family.
Savor an ultimate Chinese-Peruvian experience at Chifa Du Kang and discover Peru’s best kept gastronomic secret in our menu.