Chino Latino Restaurants: Converging Communities, Identities, and Cultures


Lok Siu


Chinese dispora, Chinese migration, Chino Latino, Chino Latino Restuarants, Latino dispora, Latino migration


Afro-Hispanic Review

Year Published:


Policy Summary

The author provides a description and analysis of the Chino Latino (Chinese Creole/Spanish) restaurants in New York City. There is currently little literature on the history of the Chino Latino food origins in the United States and Canada. Chino Latino restaurants originated in New York in the 1970’s and were popularized by Chinese Cubans. The migration from China to Cuba occured mainly from 1847 to 1874 when over 125,000 Chinese laborers (mostly male) migrated to Cuba to work on sugar plantations. That indentured laborer pathway ended in 1875; but over 5,000 Chinese Californians migrated to Cuban from 1860-1875. These two migration streams (of mostly males) led to Chinese men marrying Cuban women of all different descents, which has created generations of interracial children. When the 1959 Cuban Revoluation occured, this spurred significant numbers of Cuban Chinese to migrate to the United States, where many started Chino Latino restaurants (especially in New York City). Chino Latino restaurants in the United States are important to consider from a cultural standpoint because these restaurants allow for an often invisible group of the population to occupy an important public space, which reaffirms their existence in the community. Owners of Chino Latino restuarants are often very proud of their mixed hertitage and want their restaurant to represent multiple ethnicities. Chino Latino restaurants offer employees and customers with access to and support from a unique multi-ethnic community.

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