Restaurant mixes Peruvian ingredients with Cantonese cooking

Pachac Peruvian Food opened in West Tulsa last November. The restaurant, located in a strip mall, specializes in chifa cuisine, even though Google labels it as Chinese.

Chifa cuisine blends traditional Peruvian ingredients with Chinese Cantonese cooking. The cuisine arose when Cantonese Chinese immigrated to Peru in the late 19th to early 20th centuries. Cantonese Chinese cooking is evident in the wontons and stir fries in Pachac’s menu, while Peruvian ingredients like aji chili peppers and yams were also used. The Peruvian or Chinese influences weren’t evident in the decor, which had a number of stylized celebrity portraits, Elvis included.

Almost any type of taste bud would be satisfied at this restaurant. Categories on the dinner menu include: beef, stir fried, soup, chicken, fish and fried rice. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot for vegetarians or vegans, and nothing was labeled as gluten free. Along with the standard soda offerings, the restaurant also offers Chicha Morada, a purple corn drink that, regrettably, none of us ended up trying. Of note as well: desserts are only offered on Saturday and Sunday. For those with allergies like one of our friends, soybean oil is used in preparing almost every dish.

We chose not to order any appetizers, instead going straight for the main course. This plan worked out for some of us who had dishes large enough for leftovers. Our server informed us that because every dish was freshly prepared, it might take some time to get our orders. It did. But when we got them, we were all surprised by what we had ordered. Without pictures of the options, our unfamiliarity with the cuisine had meant we weren’t entirely sure how our orders, which we couldn’t even pronounce, would be served.

The Ceviche de Pescado offered one of the few safe choices for our soybean-allergic friend, and the server said she ate such a dish almost every night. Ceviche is a type of seafood dish where fresh raw fish is cured with citrus juices. At Pachac lime juice is used, which gives the fish a strong, almost overpowering flavor. As someone not used to this dish, I could only eat a few bites. The fish was slightly squishy, and accompanied by yams, Peruvian corn, and potatoes.

As for myself, I went with the Aji de Gallina, a dish with boiled, shredded chicken, creamy milk, potatoes and a Peruvian yellow pepper sauce. When mixed with the rice it was served with, the dish became a thick, creamy, yellow fulfilling mixture. While I didn’t favor the addition of a hardboiled egg and black olive, this was due to personal preference. The yellow pepper sauce had an indistinct, yet slightly spicy flavor, but the creaminess of the mixture made it something I could envision as my new favorite comfort food.

Both other attendees decided to try out items from the stir-fried category. One got Tallarin Saltado con Pollo, or stir fried chicken with linguini. The use of linguini in a stir fry was a unique choice, but the dish tasted nevertheless familiar. Lomo Saltado consisted of french fries in a stir fry with beef. This choice lost the crispiness I favor from my fries, but did add to the saltiness and overall umami flavor of the dish.

Tuesday through Sunday the restaurant serves lunch and dinner. For those interested in trying something new but also saving a buck, $6.99 lunch specials are offered daily from a select few of their dishes. Otherwise, the prices averaged somewhere around $8-12 for dinner.

Post Author: tucollegian

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