Lima is home to the largest Chinese descendants community in South America.
Founded in the mid-19th century by Chinese immigrants, Barrio Chino is a neighborhood centered on two blocks of Jirón Ucayali in downtown Lima, Peru. In the 19th century, it was heavily damaged by the War of the Pacific and further declined in the decades that followed. However, in the 1970s, it experienced a revival. Today, it is is a thriving source for Chinese-Peruvian culture.
Today, Barrio Chino extends several blocks around Jirón Ucayali to the east of Avenida Abancay in El Centro, the historic district of Lima. At the heart of Barrio Chino is Calle Capón, the pedestrian-only block called which is located on Ucayali between Andahuaylas and Paruro.
Similar to Chinatowns around the world, Lima’s Chinatown is also a hub for authentic Chinese cuisine and a source of Chinese ingredients.
During the Spanish Colonial period in the 1850s, Chinese immigrants started to assemble in the Central Market which was then called La Concepción. By the 1860s, the ethnic Chinese presence had established itself in the neighborhood through Chinese import companies from Hong Kong and California such as the Wing Fat Co. and the Wo Chong Co. They were small businesses that catered to the Chinese population, such as small grocery stores, laundry shops, and restaurants.
How to get there
Head south from the Plaza de Armas in the historic center of Lima. After a block, take a left on Jr. Ucayali. Walk down approximately five blocks before reaching the Arco Chino, or Chinatown gate. The most notable landmark is the red Chinese Arch built at the entrance to honor the friendship between China and Peru which has been there since 1971.
What to do there
The Calle Capón promenade operates 365 days a year as a cultural and tourist attraction.
Traditional Chinese festivals and cultural activities are celebrated here such as Chinese New Year and the moon cake party during the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Chinese restaurants in Lima are called "Chifas, " and there are over 6000 of them in Lima. Some of the most renowned of these Chinese dining establishments are located in Barrio Chino. One such eatery has actually been there since the 1920s - the San Joy Lao. Other well-known chifas in the neighborhood include the Wa Lok, Salón China, Sala Capón. Ton Qui Sen, Men Yu, Kuong Tong and Tong Po.
And if you want to visit Chinese temples, Barrio Chino is the headquarters for numerous Chinese associations. You will find several temples and oracles like the oracle of Guangong at the Kuan Tai Kung Temple, which is administered by the Pun Yui society. The temples to Guangong and other divinities run by the Ku Kong Chao and Tungshing associations can also be found in Barrio Chino.
If you wouldlike to include a visit while in Lima or for further information
IMPORTANT UPDATE- We were contacted by the grandaugther of the owner of the former San Joy Lao Restaurant who informed us that the San Joy Lao Restaurant that is now operating in Chinatown is no related to the former one nor they are family