We’ve walked by this place a few times and I didn’t really pay attention much, but one time looking at the menu, the owner came out to talk to us. We had just eaten but told her we’d come back to try it out at some point. That didn’t happen exactly but we did get it delivered the other day. I have no clue about Venezuelan Chinese food so take my impressions as you will.
I see online reviews talking about the food being fusion but I didn’t get that at all — some of the food is Chinese and some is Venezuelan.
Combo Valenciano: leg quarter of rotisserie chicken, vegetarian fried rice, Venezuelan style coleslaw
The rotisserie was fine — not much going on but cooked right like a normal rotisserie chicken. It came with salsa guasacaca (a garlicky white sauce with herbs. Looking online it’s usually more green and made with avocado, this one wasn’t) and a sweet and sour sauce which was good (see below). The fried rice was a dark soy version and pretty good. The coleslaw was limp with not much flavor.
Pollo Agridulce: sweet and sour breaded chicken with white rice
I don’t think I’ve eaten sweet and sour chicken since I was a kid 20 years ago, but this one was pretty good. The sauce had a deeper flavor than I remember the dish having.
I don’t know enough about what this place is supposed to be but overall it was good enough to try and the owners/workers are super sweet. We’ll probably stop by at some point to try some other stuff — their empanadas look good, and they have a lamb skewer I should try.
Latin-Asian fusion cuisine has a history. Peruvian-Chinese food is Chifa, and there’s a restaurant in LA named the same. Also a few Chinese-Mexican places in LA. I’ve been wanting to go to Mexicali to try the Chinese-Mexican places.
Ya, I’ve heard of chifa before. My understanding was it was more of a fusion, ie making Cantonese dishes using local ingredients, etc. I don’t have any experience though.
Cantoo seems different to me in that it’s just two cuisines served in the same place, not much fusion going on. Reading online a bit it seems like Chinese takeout is/was popular in Venezuela but they’d add some local dishes as well. But I don’t really know and only ever first heard about it from walking by Cantoo.
You mentioning Mexicali makes me think I might have missed out — I lived with a girl from Calexico during college years and have driven through Calexico/Mexicali a few times to go camp on the beach around San Felipe. Didn’t know about the Chinese-Mexican places back then.
The two distinct cuisines seems like a traditional carried on but different cuisines. Use to be a lot of Chinese American places that served Chinese (Cantonese) food and an American menu. I’d guess this also happens in different countries, offering two distinct cuisines, one place.
The long gone Jackson Cafe was one of these places…Chinese food menu, or meat and three stuff, prime rib, etc. There were a whole slew of these places in Chinatown, Uncle’s and a few more. I think Pork Chop House (New Lun Tin Cafe) is the last of these places. People of different backgrounds, ethnicities would eat at these places, a lot downtown workers at lunch, labors and longshoreman way back in the day.
Seems like the same tradition of maximizing revenues by offering two distinct cuisines. There use to be a place in the Outer Mission that doubled as a Chinese restaurant and pizza joint, run by different chefs/owners. Practical way to split rent.