Image source: VV – Lomo Saltado at La Chifa
It was fun to come across this review in the Village Voice of La Chifa, a new Peruvian-Chinese restaurant that has opened at 73-20 Northern Blvd in Jackson Heights (GMAP). Reviewer Robert Sietsema tells us about the good – the carby Lomo Saltado, made of gravy, french fries, and meat (beef or chicken), all served with rice; Arroz Chaufa Aeropeurto, a fried rice dish made with garlicky chicken; the side dish of Nabo Encurtido, consisting of thin slices of pickled daikon radish with jalepeños; and Tallarin Taypa, which is noodles topped with beef, chicken, pork, quail eggs, green bell peppers, onions, carrots, mushrooms, and broccoli. The ceviche also sounds good.
Then there’s the bad (or maybe just the so-so) – primarily the rotisserie chicken, which is found at most Peruvian places. Sounds like here you can skip it. Sietsema also says there is plenty of salty food to be had, too, though what constitutes “salty” can sometimes be chalked up to a matter of taste – what is salty to one person may be just fine to another.
Other good news – the classic Peruvian green sauce, aji verde, is available here; we’ve known of it through our meals at Pio-Pio in Sunnyside and Jackson Heights, Tu Casa in Kew Gardens, and Costa Verde in Elmhurst. It is a spectacular sauce, and in the review we learn what’s in it - cilantro, green chiles, garlic, and… mayo. Yes, mayo.
Sietsema also goes into some of the background of Chinese immigrants in Peru and the food that resulted from that mixture:
Chinese immigrants arrived in Lima late in the 19th century as agricultural workers. The word “chifa” is probably a corruption of the Mandarin words for fried rice. Indeed, fried rice (arroz chaufa) and lo mein (tallarin) occupy the cuisine’s soft and savory center. New York has had a small collection of authentic chifas started by Peruvians for at least 20 years, and these modest cafés offer what might seem like a retrograde 1920s Cantonese bill of fare, reminding you of our neighborhood Chinese in its oldest and creakiest outer-borough incarnations.
We look forward to checking this place out soon.
La Chifa, 73-20 Northern Blvd, Jackson Heights, NY 11372; chifanewyork.com