A visit to “El Barrio Chino” or the China town in Lima, Peru.


China Town Lima with Mt. San Cristobal / Barrio Chino Lima con el Cerro San Cristobal.

China Town Lima with Mt. San Cristobal in the background/ Barrio Chino Lima con el Cerro San Cristobal.  (Photo by Pablo Moreno: PM Photography)

  

Estimated at 1.5 million people (around 5 % of the country’s population), Peru’s ethnic Chinese community is the largest in Latin America. Its center and de facto capital is the Barrio Chino, or Chinatown, in Lima’s historic center.

On February 1st we went to have a look what was going on for the Chinese New Year between the 7th and 8th block of Jirón Ucayali in downtown, a stretch almost universally referred to as Calle Capón, a name acquired during the Spanish Colonial period as it was the location of the market for castrated pigs.

Few international tourists venture here, but for those seeking a detour off the beaten path, the neighborhood offers a rich mix of culinary and cultural delights! 

Like Chinatowns in other countries, Lima’s Chinatown is also a source of Chinese ingredients and a hub of Chinese cuisine. There are over 6000 Chinese restaurants in Lima called “Chifas”, and some of the most renown and venerable of these chinese eateries are located in Chinatown. The San Joy Lao, for example, was first established before 1920. Other notable chifas in the neighborhood include the Salón China, Wa Lok, and Sala Capón.

Lima's Chinatown is the hub of Chinese cuisine with many "Chifas" or Chinese eateries.

Lima’s Chinatown is the hub of Chinese cuisine with many “Chifas” or Chinese eateries.  (Photo by Pablo Moreno: PM Photography)

What to Do When you go to Lima China Town?  
EAT. Locals of all nationalities flock to Lima’s Chinatown for its well-regarded chifas — the best on offer in a city that treasures its own unique take on Chinese cuisine — and markets offering a range of hard-to-find ingredients. The sopa udon (udon noodle soup) at Ucayali on 628 Jiron Ucayali is about the best you’re liable to find anywhere. The place serves delicious fried yucas for dipping, and is very popular with the locals. Expect to wait for a table (it’s worth it).

At the Chinese groceries along Paruro, travelers can find amble among exotic spices, Buddhist icons and the chifas over here are superb.  The Galeria Comercial Barrio Chino is also worth a look. The indoor market is choked with shoppers on the weekend seeking deals on everything from pots and pans to Chinese teas and incense.

Best time to go?  Midday, when chifas and eateries are serving their fixed menus and markets are filled with vendors, is the best time to visit Lima’s Chinatown.

How to get there? From the Plaza de Armas in the historic center of Lima, head south a block and hang a left on Jr. Ucayali. Walk down about five blocks before reaching the Arco Chino, or Chinatown gate. Best is to go with somebody who knows the area. (check out our website and tours at Vamos Expeditions: http://www.vamosexpeditions.com)

Fortune cookie seller at Lima China town for New Year. / Vendedora de galletitas de la fortuna.

Fortune cookie seller at Lima China town for New Year. / Vendedora de galletitas de la fortuna. (Photo by Pablo Moreno)

Bamboo for the Chinese New Year = Good luck / Bamboo  para la buena suerte

Bamboo for the Chinese New Year = Good luck / Bamboo para la buena suerte.  (Photo by Pablo Moreno: PM Photography)

Bamboo for good New Year's luck

Bamboo for good New Year’s luck. (Photo by Pablo Moreno: PM Photography)

Granada seller at Lima China Town / Vendedora de Granada en el Barrio Chino de Lima.

Granada seller at Lima China Town/Vendedora de Granada en el Barrio Chino de Lima.  (Photo de Pablo Moreno)

Granadas

Granadas. (Photo by Pablo Moreno)

Chinese man in Lima China Town/Chino en el Barrio Chino.

Chinese man in Lima China Town/Chino en el Barrio Chino. (Photo by Pablo Moreno)

Hair saloon in China Town Lima / Peluqueria en el barrio Chino de Lima.

Hair saloon in China Town Lima / Peluqueria en el barrio Chino de Lima. (Photo by Pablo Moreno)

Old Chinese Skater in Lima China Town. Viejito skater en el barrio chino de Lima.

Old Chinese Skater in Lima China Town. Viejito skater en el barrio chino de Lima. (Photo by Pablo Moreno)

China town Lima

Verduras Chinas / Chinese Veggies

Verduras Chinas / Chinese Veggies. (Photo by Pablo Moreno)

Chinese pots and pans at El Barrio Chino, Lima.

Chinese pots and pans at El Barrio Chino, Lima. (Photo by Pablo Moreno)

9

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Chifa Wa Lok at Lima China Town / Chifa Wa Lok en el Barrio Chino.

Chifa Wa Lok at Lima China Town / Chifa Wa Lok en el Barrio Chino. (Photo by Pablo Moreno)

16

Inca Cola Seller  / Vendedora de Inca Cola en el Barrio Chino.

Inca Cola Seller: “There is nothing better with Chifa than Inca Cola / Vendedora de Inca Cola en el Barrio Chino: Nada mejor con Chifa que Inca Cola!

No time to go all the way to China Town?  No worries, below we also share with you our some delicious dishes and the decor of Peru’s most fancy Chifa (Chinese-Peruvian Fusion restaurant) from chef Gaston Acurio:  ‘Chifa Madam Tusan’, located in Miraflores. As well, highly recommended by Vamos Expeditions for a great culinary adventure.

Photo from Gaston Acurio Restaurants: Madam Tusan

Photo from Gaston Acurio Restaurants: Madam Tusan

Chifa Madam Tusan. (photo by Gaston Acurio Restaurants)

Chifa Madam Tusan. (photo by Gaston Acurio Restaurants)

Chifa Madam Tusan. (photo by Gaston Acurio Restaurants)

Chifa Madam Tusan. (photo by Gaston Acurio Restaurants)

Chifa Madam Tusan. (photo by Gaston Acurio Restaurants)

Chifa Madam Tusan. (photo by Gaston Acurio Restaurants)

Chifa Madam Tusan. (photo by Gaston Acurio Restaurants)

Chifa Madam Tusan. (photo by Gaston Acurio Restaurants)

Chifa Madam Tusan. (photo by Gaston Acurio Restaurants)

Chifa Madam Tusan. (photo by Gaston Acurio Restaurants)

Chifa Madam Tusan. (photo by Gaston Acurio Restaurants)

Chifa Madam Tusan. (photo by Gaston Acurio Restaurants)

Happy Chinese Year of the Horse!  Feliz año nuevo Chino del Caballo!

2014: The Chinese Year of the Horse
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Categories: Around Lima, UncategorizedTags: , , , , , ,

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