Eat List: The Chifas of San Borja
A new Barrio Chino has emerged in a Lima suburb.
There are chifas, Chinese-Peruvian restaurants, found on nearly every corner of Lima, Peru. Many of the best examples of this genre of restaurant were once clustered around the Barrio Chino in the center of Lima, where they first appeared in the country. However, a newer Chinatown has emerged in the middle class suburb of San Borja. This is now where one should go to experience Lima’s best chifas.
Chinese Peruvians, also known as tusán, mostly arrived in several waves of migration from China’s Guangdong Province in the second half of the 19th-century. Many came to work as contract laborers and at some point, in the 1920s, the first chifas appeared on Calle Capón in what would become Lima’s original Chinatown. Many Cantonese ingredients and cooking styles, such as stir frying and soy sauce, were soon adapted by Peru’s national cuisine, such was the case with the dish lomo saltado (stir fried beef with tomoatoes and French fries).
There had been little evolution among chifas in Lima for decades, but over the last few years several chifas, some old, some new, have begun to stand out. Nearly all of them can be found in San Borja, where new Chinese markets and dim sum halls are increasingly appearing. Even Gastón Acurio has two branches of the always reliable Madam Tusan there. Here are my recommendations on which San Borja chifas to go now:
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to New Worlder to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.