Back in the 1920s, Chinese food outlets began to open their doors on Calle Capón. A decade later, it was already a custom in our country to go to Chinatown to enjoy the delicious dishes that these places offered.
In 1940 the chifas were no longer only in Chinatown. They were all over the center of Lima and in other districts and provinces. The flavors of oriental ingredients such as kion, soy, and many others, little by little conquered the taste of Peruvians and became very popular.
Today, oriental flavors delicious Chinese food are an important part of our gastronomy. And although chifas are not exactly Chinese restaurants but Peruvian restaurants heirs to a Cantonese tradition, they offer many dishes that are typical of China and that are enjoyed around the world. Here we tell you what they are:
1. Peking Duck or Peking Duck
It is one of the best-known dishes in Chinese cuisine. Many ducks are specially fed to be eaten this way. Preparing this dish takes time but the result is crunchy and tasty.
2. Wan Tan Soup
Some claim that her name means “swallow the clouds”. Those little clouds are what we know here as wontons: a wheat flour dough that is mainly filled with pork, shrimp and vegetables. The Wan Tan soup or Wonton soup is usually served, in addition, with very thin noodles and Chinese onion. During the Chinese New Year celebration, silver coins are often placed inside wantans to wish good luck.
3. Spicy tofu (Mapo doufu)
Despite the fact that Chinese food is not usually spicy, this dish is typical of Chengdu, a city in the south where food has this particularity. It is a combination of tofu in a spicy red sauce, often topped with minced pork or beef.
4. Spring Rolls
It is a pasta roll filled with different vegetables cut in julienne and minced meat. It is an aperitif that is eaten especially during the Spring Festival. As it resembles gold bars, it is related to ideas of wealth.
It is a triangle of glutinous rice with different fillings and rolled with bamboo leaves. Wrapping it in bamboo leaves is not an easy task, the traditional technique for doing it is inherited from one family to another, as is its recipe. It is a traditional dish that is steamed or boiled and that the Chinese always prepare at the Dragon Boat Festival.
6. Gong Bao or Kung Pao Chicken
This dish from the Sichuan region is one of the spiciest in Chinese cuisine. The reason: the large amount of chili peppers and Sichuan pepper that it carries.
They are a kind of thin crust dumplings filled with minced meat or vegetables that are sealed with the fingers. They can be cooked in several ways: fried or boiled and are accompanied by soy sauce and vinegar or hot sauce. They are not missing from the table during the New Year celebrations because it symbolizes the good fortune of the new year.
8. Wan Tan Mee
It is a culinary specialty of Cantonese cuisine made with some very popular egg noodles in China, especially in Hong Kong. They are served in a kind of soup, with abundant oyster or soy sauce. There are different versions depending on the region in which it is prepared, but it is usually served with Char Siew (roast pork slices) and various types of green leafy vegetables, such as Chinese kalian.
9. Chow Mein
If there is a versatile dish in Chinese cuisine, it is Chow Mein. All that has the Chinese fried noodles is chow mein and you can add many ingredients, although the usual thing is that it contains noodles, meat, cabbage and other vegetables. The Cantonese adaptation incorporates fresh singed egg noodles, green pepper, pea pods, Chinese cabbage, bamboo, water chestnuts, prawns, and three kinds of meat: scorch siu (pork), chicken, and hamburger. It is joined by a thick sauce.
10. Huo Guo or Hot Pot
Known as Chinese fondue or Mongolian cauldron, the Hot Pot is a feast of flavors and textures that is mainly prepared in winter. It consists of cooking different types of food in a hot broth with different sauces and placing it in the center of the table. Includes: meat, vegetables, mushrooms, wantanes, egg, dumping and even shellfish. Depending on the region of China in which we are located, the Hot Pot can be made in many ways.