Although we can all enjoy the self -satisfaction that comes from eating a healthy diet high in leafy greens and nutrient rich veggies, life is about balance. And balance to me includes sitting on the couch eating a small (who am I lying to, I get a large) General Tso’s Chicken with pork fried rice while watching RuPaul’s Drag Race. In honor of this I will be sharing with you my experiences with some of Peru’s classic cravings, Chifa and Churros!
A quick history lesson just so we are all in the loop, Chifa is a Peruvian cuisine that is a fusion of Chinese and Peruvian flavors. This beautiful blend of food came to be due to the influx of Chinese immigrants into Peru during the late 19th century. With the ending of slavery in 1854 came a labor shortage and thus Chinese immigrants came to fill in the void.
For my first go around I of course went with some Chifa experts (My boyfriend and his best friend) to the wonderful Chifa Chung Yion-Union in Barranco.
It was actually one of the most comforting experiences I’ve had so far. Just like your everyday NYC chinese food restaurants I walked in and was immediately hit with the fragrance of fried food and grease and instantly began salivating.
We decided to order some of the classics for my first go around. First up, wontons! Although in New York I would normally order cheese wontons the ones here are filled with chicken, but other than that the texture is very similar and was served with the usual sweet and sour sauce. Yummmmm!
You can also see in the pic below that I ate my Chifa the traditional way,
CON INCA KOLA!!!!!!!
Next up was of course Chaufa which comes from Cantonese and means “fried rice” We went for a veggie version, with mushrooms, bean sprouts and green beans, but like all good fried rice it came with egg mixed in. A touch softer in texture than what I had come to expect from fried rice, but super flavorful! Also it made me realize, I should really add more bean sprouts to my diet.
Our last course, since this place does serve family style, was Chicken Chi Jau Kay. It is a thick battered, flattened chicken breast, almost like Milanese, that is then smothered in a rich brown sauce. The batter although thick is simultaneously airy creating a wonderful crunch as you bite into it. From what I could research about the sauce I believe it is an oyster sauce base which gives it a super rich flavor. This Chi Jau Kay was served with cashews, which isn’t traditional, but I thought was a wonderful addition and giving another layer of texture, but also a nice almost buttery flavor to the dish.
All inall it was a very successful Chifa experience, and although it is a Peruvian classic I felt right at home.
The complete history of Churros is still debatable, but it I believe in this case it is safe to say that they take their lead from their Spanish colonizers. In case you aren’t familiar with this delightful snack. Churros are made from choux pastry dough and then fried to perfection. Now if you live in NYC you might get your churros from the lovely latin women who sell them in the 14th street subway station when you transfer from the L to the A,C,E, but here in Miraflores, I was taken to Manolo!
Here’s what’s fun about the bae taking me there…we were not planning on getting churros! We were just innocent hungry bystanders and they’ve got their beautiful display of churros right up front for all to see, and what you expect me, a now food blogger, to just walk by? No, so we went in, and just like at Chifa Chung Yion there was something vaguely familiar to this place. We sat down at our round little table bathed in fluorescent light and I took a look at the menu and at the decor and it clicked, we were in Lima’s equivalent to an New York diner! Too many food options on the over glossy menu, super durable dishwear, and glass cases to showcase all their desserts and specialty food items, I was home! I was still in the mood for the classic however so we ordered the plain churros, just sugar on the outside, with the hot chocolate dipping sauce…WHAT!!!!!! If the latin women selling churros in the subway added that to the menu I think new yorkers would go insane. It would be the new version of the Turnstyle market. The churros were beautifully crisp on the outside, soft and airy on the inside and then dipped in a super thick hot chocolate. I was more than glad we stopped.
You can see bae’s hand in the picture wanting desperately for me to stop taking photos so he could eat 😛 Thankfully we are not staying too close to this place or all of my soles would be spent right here. Although there is a place in Barranco not to far where I think I can try churros filled with Manjarblanco…
That’s for another post!
Hope I didn’t make you too hungry with this one 🙂
Thanks for reading!
P.S. If you wanna read some more about Chifa and its history here are a few links!