Jona and I share a passion for food and storytelling in large part because of our family history. In volume 1 of our new series “Our Immigrant Story” we explore our paternal grandparents unique life story as Chinese Peruvians.
Our grandparents, Jaime Won, born in 1915 in Guangzhou, and Leonor Koosau, born in 1927 in Peru but orphaned as a baby and sent to Macau, emigrated to Peru in 1948 seeking opportunity and a better life. They shared an insatiable passion for food, cooking and making memories around the dinner table. That legacy lives on with us as we love bringing people together and experimenting with new Asian-Latino recipes.
Many people don’t know this, but it is estimated that up to 20% of Peru’s population today (6 million people) have Chinese ancestry. The first documented Chinese immigrants arrived in Peru in 1849, brought over to labor in coastal sugar plantations and mines, to construct rail roads, and to extract guano for fertilizer. They brought with them their food culture and recipes from their homeland. “Chifa” cuisine thus emerged as a cross-pollination of Chinese and Peruvian cultures.
Two of our favorite #chifa dishes that we love making at @hungrywons are our “Lomo Saltado” & “”Arroz Chaufa” fried rice. To us they represent a fascinating example of cultural dialogue and integration through the mixing of good food. Just like our grandparents abuelitos did !