Hybrid gastronomy isn’t a foreign concept today. There’s Chuka Ryori (Japanese-Chinese), Nikkei (Japanese-Peruvian) and Peranakan (which combines Chinese, Malay, Javanese, and South Indian influences), all of which see uniquely different cultures fuse to create an entirely new palette of flavours. But only the best foodies will know of Chifa. Now, you can taste this uncommon fusion cuisine at Chifa! in Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) Singapore.
The term ‘chifa’ is derived from a local Peruvian transliteration of the Chinese phrase ‘Chi fan’ (吃饭) and originated from the first generation of Chinese immigrants when they created dishes comprising Chinese – or more specifically, Cantonese – flavours using Peruvian ingredients. The cuisine was later further adapted by descendants of Chinese who was born in Peru, also known as Tusan.
Peruvian cuisine is a rarity in Singapore, much less Peruvian-Chinese cuisine. However, RWS has introduced and showcased this unique culinary style to Singapore and the region via the recently opened Chifa!
When East Meets West
Chifa! is unmissable when you step onto the grounds of RWS. Its colourful décor takes inspiration from classic Chinese courtyard architecture and the vibrant surroundings of Barrio Chino (equivalent to Chinatown), Peru.
Inside features four distinct dining areas, including three private dining rooms and a lively bar. Showcasing backdrops of iconic Peruvian rainbow mountains and vivid textiles, the interior is completed with neon lights, brick walls, stone flooring, and glazed roof tiles.
Overall, Chifa!’s visual impact also reflects the melting pot of Peru’s diverse cultures and landscapes, embracing Peruvian and Chinese heritage.
Banquet-worthy spread with Chifa!’s fresh yet familiar fusion fare
Chifa!’s signature dishes definitely look familiar initially, but they come with a twist. For a start, the Yellowfin Tuna Tamarind Ceviche elevates a classic Peruvian dish by combining the citric tamarind ‘Leche de Tigre’ (tiger’s milk) marinade with recognisable Chinese flavours like daikon and kyuri.
Another standout fusion dish is the Bijao Wrapped Fish and ‘Sudado’, an alternate version of a Chifa delicacy. Chifa!’s take features a whole fish roasted in a wrapped banana leaf to acquire its fragrance, before being topped with tangy Tomato Chalaca Salsa. The ‘Sudado’ sauce, made of Aji chilli and fermented corn juice, adds a zesty punch to this protein main.
Rice is a staple in Chinese cuisine, so it came as no surprise that fried rice was part of this menu. Wok Fried Seafood XO Aeropuerto is the modern take on the chifa equivalent dish enjoyed by Peruvians. Chifa!’s rendition mixes nutritious quinoa and aromatic jasmine rice with seafood and seasonal vegetables, all sautéed in a flavourful XO sauce with plenty of wok-hei.
Other highlights include the Sichuan-Peru Potatoes (julienned Peruvian potatoes seasoned with Sichuan pepper), and for dessert, the Purple ‘Chicken Bebe’ Man Tao (Peruvian sweet corn ice cream in Purple Bao). A dim sum menu is also available, offering exquisite chifa-style bites that are perfect for weekend afternoons.
Raise a Pisco-based cocktail at Chifa!
You can’t go without a glass of Pisco when having a chifa meal. Signature drinks include the Chicano de China – an interpretation of the classic Pisco-ginger ale combination commonly had by Peruvians – which contains Pisco Macchu, maracuya (passion fruit), agave nectar and ginger ale.
Lastly, follow up with a refreshing LAGUNA 69 – named after and inspired by the beautiful turquoise colour lake near Huaraz in Peru. Down this refreshing concoction made of Havana three years, blue curacao, pineapple and fresh lime juice with agave nectar.
Chifa! is located at 8 Sentosa Gateway, Ave8, Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore 098269.
This story first appeared here.
Hero and feature image credits: Resorts World Sentosa
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