Casa Chino, Brunswick

MELBOURNE | Chifa is a Peruvian-Cantonese fusion cuisine that began to develop in the late 1800s in Lima, when Peru experienced a large wave of Chinese migration – labourers who helped build modern Peru. I was introduced to it when I visited Peru in 2018, and immediately fell in love with the flavours.

There aren’t a lot of place where you can find Chifa cuisine outside of Peru, but if you’re in Melbourne, you’re in luck. Last month saw the opening of Casa Chino in Brunswick, and I was invited in to take a look.

Casa Chino is from the Talisman Group. They’re the same people that opened Brisbane Chifa spot Casa Chow in 2022, inspired by co-owner Jared Thibault’s late wife Fiorella’s family dishes, and the Chifa meals that he enjoyed on his travels to Peru. Similarly to Casa Chow, the menu at Casa Chino also incorporates Cantonese and Peruvian dishes that aren’t strictly Chifa, as well as other owner Vincent Lombino’s experience in the Latin American kitchens of Miami.

Lomo saltado, the poster child for Chifa cuisine and one of my favourite things to eat, is a must try. Strips of steak are stir fried in a wok with ginger, soy sauce, aji amarillo chilli, oyster sauce, tomato, onion and coriander. It’s a saucy delight full of wok hei, served atop a serve of fries with steamed rice on the side.

Other dishes include things like crab and prawn toast with a creamy rocoto chilli sauce, tobiko, and bonito; charcoal roasted pepper skewers with salsa blanca and furikake; and and assortment of dim sum. Be sure to grab a serve of the arroz chaufa. It’s a pork and prawn fried rice with a wonderful mix of flavours and textures.

To drink, it’s cocktails inspired by the food, a selection of pisco sours, beer by local and Peruvian brewers, and a selection of mostly local and South American wines. My favourite cocktail is the refreshing but bitey Szechuan Pineapple Chilicano. It’s a blend of Barsol Pisco Quebranta, Szechuan pineapple shrub, fresh lime, Strangelove ginger beer, fresh mint, and Szechuan charred pineapple.

Casa Chino

1/212-214 Albion Street
Victoria 3056

Telephone: 1300 205 253
E-mail: n/a

Wed – Thu: 5:00pm to 9:30pm
Fri – Sat: 12:00pm to 3:00pm, 5:00pm to 10:00pm



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