Chifa Du Kang restaurant is decorated with Chinese good luck symbols and paintings of Incan ruins. The modest, family-run spot has two menus, both with Chinese food, but the one offering Peruvian-Chinese dishes is the main attraction.
Chef-owner Jing Quan Du emigrated to Lima from Guangzho, China, almost 30 years ago, and opened his first of many restaurants with the help of his grandfather. When his son finished high school, he moved the family to Miami, and opened Du Kang two years ago, naming it for his ancestral clan (Kang means good health).
The term chifa is from the Cantonese greeting “ni chi fan,” meaning “Have you eaten yet?” used by the Chinese laborers who arrived to Lima in the late 19th century to work sugar plantations. They began opening small eateries using local ingredients. Today, soy sauce, fermented black beans, ginger and other Chinese staples are used, but the dishes still reflect their Andean birth.
Soy kao frito brings a platter of deep-fried wonton pouches stuffed with a mixture of shrimp and pork for dipping in lemon juice spiked with cinnamon or hoisin sauce. Min pao are cottony steamed buns filled with juicy barbecue pork. Crusty chicken chicharrones come with cooked, sliced turnip.
Sopa pac pow is a take on egg drop soup with minced mushrooms, shrimp, chicken and scallions. Taypa, which means “lots of food,” and is a stir-fry of chicken, roast pork, shrimp, veggies and fried triangles of tofu. Arroz chaufa is fried rice with a choice of protein.
Lomo saltado is a sauté of beef strips and french fries, while tallarines are egg noodles with various toppings. There are also Spanish-style tortillas and fried chicken meatballs in oyster sauce.
Sweet purple corn and pineapple pudding ends a meal sweetly rooted in Peru.
Linda Bladholm is a Miami food writer and personal chef who blogs at FoodIndiaCook.com.