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Global flavors mingle at ChinaLatina

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ChinaLatina’s roasted sweet bananas
Photo: Wade Vandervort
Jason Harris

A fusion of New York-style Chinese takeout and Puerto Rican street food isn’t something you encounter often in our Valley. But for New Yorker Beni Velasquez, the chef who brought the two cuisines together at ChinaLatina, the flavors are simply home. Because in the Big Apple, one spot serving mofongo to go can be right next door to your favorite pint of lo mein.

At ChinaLatina—on Pecos just north of Tropicana—start with the crispy egg rolls ($6) filled with chicken, shrimp, chorizo or veggies. They come with a guava teriyaki and dragon sauce for dipping, an east-meets-west concoction that complements each bite. The roasted sweet plantains ($6), with honey guava teriyaki sauce and ginger soy crema, are another good appetizer option.

The chef’s specialties ($12-$21) feature a variety of proteins, including beef, seafood and chicken, all prepared in bold flavor profiles that combine umami notes (soy sauce, oyster sauce) with sweet tastes (guava teriyaki, honey). All are served with steamed rice and vegetables, with a $2 upcharge for fried rice and noodles.

Under salads and sandwiches, the Lechon Cu-Bahn-Mi Sandwich ($13) is a behemoth best shared among friends. Velasquez’s ode to Cuban and Vietnamese sandwich cultures marries Black Forest ham, crispy chicharrones, Swiss and Gruyère cheeses with sweet and spicy cucumbers, mojo mustard mayo, cilantro, jalapeños, jicama slaw and dragon sauce. Served with plantain chips, it’s one of the most unique sandwiches in town.

CHINALATINA 4865 S. Pecos Road #4, 725-735-2972. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-midnight; Sunday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

Tags: Food, Asian food
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