Barrio Chino AKA Chinatown is located right next to Mercado Central. The Chinatown Gate is located on the same street where the entrance to the market is located. We walked into Barrio Chino and walked around the neighborhood but unlike Chinatown’s in San Francisco or New York, there were no Chinese to be seen anywhere. There were Chinese Restaurants and the ubiquitous roast duck hanging from the windows but the stores were run not run by Asians.
We entered couple of shopping centers in Barrio Chino but again, there were lots of Chinese Writing and products but no ethic Chinese to be seen anywhere. We wondered around the neighborhood which was EXTREMELY crowded and jam packed with traffic. Vehicles in Peru throw out a lot of pollution and fumes from the exhaust. Walking down the narrow Barrio Chino streets with traffic throwing out god knows what out of the exhaust pipe, that we were breathing in started to really drain the energy out of us. Add to the vehicle exhaust, the smell of trash mixed in, it was time to leave.
After wandering around couple more blocks, we decided to head back to our hotel and rest a bit before dinner tonight. I had learned in 1996, during the Japanese Embassy Hostage Crisis by the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement that Peru has a sizable Chinese and Japanese population, but so far I have not seen anyone that looked Asian during this trip. One can see their influence in the food and names of stores such as “Wong” but I would come to find out from our Uber driver that drove us back to our hotel from Barrio Chino, there have been many generations of intermarriage between the Native Peruvians and the Chinese and Japanese Peruvians that you will find many Peruvians who have some percentage of Asian blood. For example, our driver said that his grandfather was Chinese and that his last name was Tong. During our drive back to Miraflores, Mr Tong, explained to me that his grandfather came to Peru from Canton Province in China. When I first got into Mr Tong’s car, I noticed he had a bunch of charms and decorations in his car which had Chinese writing on them which at first did not make any sense to me why a Peruvian would decorate the inside of his car like the cars of some of my Chinese friends back home, but it all cleared up during our drive back to Four Points By Sheraton Miraflores.