Waku Chicken

Will Chifa become the next trendy cross-culture cuisine?


Waku Chicken


Photo by Stefanie Gans.

Will Chifa become the next trendy cross-culture cuisine? With Jose Andres, the Washington area’s celebrity chef, announcing the opening of his China Chilcano, a Chinese-Peruvian restaurant next spring, the mash-up food of Lima-based Chinese immigrants from the 19th century could spawn plates of fried rice the region over. Herndon has a head start.

Waku Chicken first opened in Baltimore and then debuted in Northern Virginia this past summer— and three more Virginia shops are planned, with ten total in the area.

The menu offers classic Peruvian with charcoal rotisserie chicken (a solid version, but a side of yuca was undercooked) and ceviche and saltado. The arroz chaufa with seafood proved greasy rice speaks many languages—for the better— and is filled with shrimp and squid and the requisite fried egg bits and scallion slices.

Crispy fried chunks of pork packed into a sandwich with soft sweet potato is savory and homey but brightens with the DIY act of adding the side salad of peppery and vinegary sliced raw onions (salsa criolla). But for authentic hotness, you must ask for the rocoto hot sauce, a pure harsh heat.-Stefanie Gans / 458 Eldon St., Herndon

(December 2013)