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Postcards from the Bench

Chifa: Peru’s Popular Chinese Fusion Flavor

November 2021 | Brian, Associate Scientist - Product Development

Chifa, a unique fusion cuisine found in Peru, is a perfect example of how we can redefine ingredients and flavor in the most exciting of ways. Maybe it’s because of my role as an Associate Scientist of Product Development, or maybe it’s growing up overseas with an exposure to so many cultures and kinds of food … but it feels like a dream come true to bring the flavors of Chifa to life in the form of a seasoning.

What is Chifa? Chifa is a popular cuisine found in Peru that fuses Peruvian and Chinese ingredients, often in the form of stir fries which lead to the creation of Lomo Saltado, & Arroz Chaufa two beloved dishes in Peruvian cuisine. Restaurants serving this type of meal are especially popular in the Peruvian capital of Lima.

How did I make Chifa seasoning? To deliver a Chifa seasoning that would seamlessly marry Peruvian and Chinese flavor cues, I utilized cilantro, capsicum and Szechuan flavors. Plantain chips used as a base because they are ubiquitous in Peruvian cuisine. I strived to capture the elements of Aji Verde: ajis, jalapeños, lime, cilantro and cumin with Chinese cuisine to create balance between two different cultures with such distinct flavors.

The result? A seasoning (of which I’m really proud of!) boasting the upfront aromas of chili, cumin, lime and soy with complex notes in the beginning of different flavors; heat, ginger, chili, cilantro, soy. It’s savory through the mid-bite with a fresh lime accent in the background and a pleasant, mild heat building throughout the bite. Notes of chili heat linger in the aftertaste.

An obvious application for this seasoning is plantain chips, but it is also an easy way to boost flavor in snacks like crackers, nuts and pretzels, and proteins such as chicken. A plant-based protein application could benefit from this unique seasoning, too.

Feeling inspired? To deliver an authentic Chifa inspired flavor profile with your applications, get in touch with McCormick today.