Peruvian food

Introducing Chifa, Peru’s Chinese Culinary Tradition

“Chifa,” a cuisine developed by Chinese immigrants to Peru, is comfort food for Peruvians across the world

You are what you eat they say, and, “I knew we were huaqiao,” restaurant-owner Maria Esther Chía says in English, using the Chinese term for “overseas Chinese.” “But I just thought of myself as Peruvian.”

The same can be said of the chifa cuisine, which was among the many dishes she served at Pachapapi, the Peruvian restaurant she used to own in Beijing’s bustling Chaoyang district. Like Chía, chifa has a complicated identity rooted in China, but is also a comfort food to Peruvians and a connection to the old country for the nation’s Chinese diaspora.

The word chifa has been theorized to come from sik faan (食饭, to eat a meal) or ci faan (饎饭, to cook a meal) in Cantonese. In Peru it’s a culinary tradition that fuses southern Chinese flavors and techniques with Peruvian ingredients and twists.

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author Siyi Chu (褚司怡)

Siyi is the Culture Editor at The World of Chinese. She writes about arts, culture, and society, and is ever-curious about the minds, hearts, and souls inside all of these spheres. Before joining TWOC, she was a freelance writer with some additional work experience in independent filmmaking and the field of education.

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