Chino Latino

Whenever I tell people about these restaurants that popped up in and around New York back in the 60’s, they look at me like I’m crazy.

Short version: For some reason, a number of Chinese emigres, fleeing Mao, ended up in the Caribbean, mostly in Puerto Rico and Cuba. A lot of them opened Chinese restaurants. 10 years later, they (and their children) are either running from Castro or moving to the States because reasons. Anyway, they went on to open restaurants again, this time with dual Chinese/Cuban or Chinese/Puerto Rican menus. Many of the staffers are Asian by heritage but their native language is Spanish.

Now one of these restaurants has opened in Tucson, and I can’t wait to show my friends that I’m not crazy after all.

Oh wow… I had never heard of that, but that sounds like it’d be amazing food.

Paging @ArmandoPenblade!

Yeah, they aren’t fusion like Peruvian food where they integrated, they have separate cuban and chinese menus. They are pretty rare now. I went to one in Hell’s Kitchen a couple years back.

Less so now than their heyday in the 2000s, but we have a ton of chinese-mexican restaurants too. They also aren’t fusion, two separate menus, and their name almost always has “Tortillas” in there somewhere. I have never been to a chexican restaurant that was any good, they’re all terrible.

The history:

Yeah, there are still tons of them. They always sound good, but then you get the food and go “oh yeah, this tastes like dirt”.

Actually, their flour tortillas are excellent. But the stuff they put inside, not so much.

I used to eat at one constantly. It’s been a long time, but “tastes like dirt” sounds right.

In my defense, I was young and cheap.

When I was much younger inexpensive Cuban black beans and rice and eggrolls kept me alive. :)

Best cheap calories in NYC is the dollar slice. It is surprisingly tasty pizza. I mean, not gourmet or anything, but it’s totally edible and much better than Sbarros or Dominoes or whatever you’ll find outside NYC.

Totally O.T., but there’s a place down the street from us called New York Pizza. By normal standards it’s not great, or even particularly good, but boy, howdy, does it live up to the name.

Huge slices served on paper plates (next best thing to wax paper), so big a single paper plate can’t hold them. Grease pooling up along the slice, rolling down your arm when you fold it in half. The only way it could be more authentic is if they sold slices through the window.

The best part is their daily lunch special - a one-topping slice with either a soft drink or draft beer for $3.69. Bud, Michelob, or Amber Boch, but what do you expect for that price?

Preaching to the choir, Señor.

This reminds me of a place that used to be open in downtown Athens, GA in the mid-80s called “Chow Goldstein’s”, a Chinese stirfry joint and Jewish delicatessen. It didn’t stay open very long and the owner, a NYC transplant named Bob Russo, reopened it as “Rocky’s Pizza” which has since become an institution.

I remember they used to sell a slice and a beer for 3 bucks and that made going to class very difficult if you happened to stop downtown for lunch between classes.

I’d totally eat this stuff.

Can ask them to say “Rico, Rico, muy rico”, then record that, and upload it to youtube?

DAMMIT you don’t mention Dominicans? LOTS more Dominican Chinese than Puerto Ricans. The only way to get to Puerto Rico was to take a speedboat from the DR and risk the sharks…

I’m Dominican Chinese, my grandfather ran one of these, lots of my extended family too. There’s a well-regarded one called Sabrosura up in the Bronx. If they didn’t change owners, the owner was an active participant in silent pc review back in the day hehe.

Also Teiman, people who are freaking born in Spanish countries do not have a problem saying the R’s. Sale de aqui con esa pendejada.

Somehow I never ran into you guys :). Lots of Cuban-Chinese, though.

Yeah, the commie thing, and also they were cane workers to replace slaves.

You’ll find Cuban/DR chinese in NY and Florida. Most of the original settler wave has left the DR the last 20 years, the people who are left are mostly mixed.

Since you’re in AZ, you know what I have heard of is Mexican-Chinese food, it’s apparently quite unique.

Never saw any Puerto Rican or Domincan chinese mash-ups here, only Cuban. But I haven’t really explored outside of Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn. The Bronx is Here Be Dragons and Staten Island is… nah.

No place like that in Tucson that I know of. When we were in Mexico last month looking for a place to live, our friends took us to the “best” Chinese restaurant in town (there are about a half dozen and I wanted to check it out). It was OK. Cheap (as are most places not designed to fleece la touristas), but the most Mexican thing about it was the menu being in Spanish and the Spanish-speaking waitress.

Unfortunately, all the Chinese places in Puerto Penasco seem to be Cantonese, i.e. bland and boring.

Cantonese is the best Chinese regional food. I’ll fight anyone on this. Most greasy terrible Chinese-American food is “cantonese” originated, but the real deal is amazing.

I’m a gweilo so what do I know, but I would rank them as something like:

Cantonese > Sichuan >> Shanghai = Hunan > Uyghur/muslim

Now we must fight.