Mon 10 Apr 2006
La Caridad 78 Cuban Chinese Food Restaurant NY
2199 Broadway (Corner of 78th and Broadway)
Ever had black beans and spanish yellow rice with chow mein? La Caridad 78 is where Cuba meets Chinese. That’s because the restaurant owners are ethnic Chinese born in Cuba. The origins of Cuban-Chinese cuisine goes back to the late 1800s, when Chinese men arrived in Latin America thanks to the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1847. Many settled in Cuba as well, and by 1940 the Chinese population was well over 30,000 in Havana alone.In Cuba, Chinese immigrants found a wealth of new ingredients to which they applied Asian cooking techniques, such as stir-fry, thus creating Cuban-Chinese cuisine. The communist revolution led by Fidel Castro in 1959 forced many Cubans of Chinese descent to move to Miami and New York. These Cuban-Chinese then went on to open restaurants offering their new hybrid style cooking. La Caridad 78 is one great example of such a restaurant. Most of the waitstaff are entirely fluent in Spanish and Cantonese as well as English. The menu offers a mix of Latin dishes
with an Asian twist and some Asian dishes with a Latin flavor. We tried a little of both including a great plate of black beans and yellow rice and fried plantains. One of our favorites was the grilled pork chops in black bean sauce. The pork chops were tender and the black bean sauce was great. The special that night included a deep fried whole Red Snapper – it was a very basic dish served with only a lemon to garnish. The hot sauce and some of the juices from the black bean sauce definitely made it a hit and we devoured the fish down to the bone.
Personally I’ve always loved Asian and Latin food so this is pretty much a dream restaurant to be able to enjoy both cuisines at the same time. I remember living in Queens a few years ago where I was able to visit Chinese restaurants in Elmhurst as well as a host of Latin restaurants and markets over in Jackson Heights.
La Caridad 78 offers no frills table service in a lively diner like atmosphere – it great food and entertainment. One thing I am still trying to figure out though is the set of stainless steel boxes they have behind the counter where they store rice. Is this a Cuban or Chinese thing ?