A Lunch at Chifa Should Come in a Baguette

I had a plan to go to Sampan for lunch with my ladies, but then I realized they stop serving lunch! What a shame, I wanted to get my hands on those banh mi’s. I quickly thought up Chifa as a good alternative. Jose Garces’ Chifa combines Peruvian and Chinese cuisines, and lucky for us they have a lunch menu with some affordable  options. The Express lunch allows you to pick 2 courses for $14, but you can pick just one course instead and fall under the $10 but still be full. A list of smaller dim sum plates are also on the lunch menu.

The empanada off the dim sum menu is filled with sweet crab meat and presented beautifully on the plate but at $11 it is out of price range and not a great value in any sense.

A bowl of pho (regularly $8) is mostly traditional, besides the addition of crispy garlic. And while the bowl is deceptively filling, this isn’t any better than the giant bowls of pho that cost $2 less and last for 2 meals that you could get at Pho Ha or any other authentic Vietnamese restaurant.

The pork belly banh mi is $7 when not doing the express menu. It comes with the typical carrot and cilantro toppings on a toasted baguette. The fries on the side are both plentiful and delicious and come topped with a spicy mayo and a chimichurri on the bottom to dip. The addition of the fries makes ordering a sandwich here more than enough to fill you up at lunchtime.

The thai sausage (regularly $8) is made in house and while the creamy avocado and shredded pickled salad on top are bright and enjoyable, the actual sausage has a great porky flavor with a hint of spice that stands out under all of that.

It does seem that the lunch menu is more Thai/Vietnamese than Chinese or Peruvian, doesn’t it? But everything tastes good so we can’t be mad at Garces for the misnomer

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • A concise but varied lunch menu has something for everyone without being overwhelming
  • The sleek space is nice to dine in
  • Fancy sandwiches taste good and aren’t too expensive

THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • an $11 empanada? No thanks
  • I’d rather have my giant bowl of pho on Washington Ave

Chifa, 707 Chestnut St (@ 9th St), 215-925-5555


1 Comment

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    My banh mi love belongs to QT Vietnamese Sandwich. (Or, preferably, Cafe Saigon if I happen to be in the Northeast). But these do look like they’re worth a try.

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