Much like New York and San Francisco, the city of Lima has its own Chinatown (Barrio Chino). Peru’s ethnic Chinese community comprises an estimated 1.5 million people — some five percent of the total population — and the hub of that community lies in the heart of Lima’s historic district. The neighborhood was founded by Chinese immigrants during the mid nineteenth century when Chinese import companies began opening commercial houses in the area.
Visitors pass through the red Chinese archway and into a maze of traditional Chinese architecture. Streets are lined with Buddhist temples, shops selling traditional ingredients and medicinal herbs, and dozens of Chinese restaurants, known locally as chifas. Come at midday, and many restaurants will offer set menus.
Chinatown is located within easy walking distance of the Palacio de Gobierno and Plaza de Armas. If you get lost, ask for the Arco Chino, Chinatown’s traditional gate.