Puerto Vallarta: Chinese Tacos and Mexican Wonton?

07 August, 2018
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Chinese restaurants are abundant in Puerto Vallarta; it’s a favorite food among Mexicans throughout the country. We have our favorites but they all offer a wonderful array of specialties. With the wealth of fresh seafood, menus are never short of delectable choices.

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We’ve been asked about the resemblance of Asian peoples among Mexicans and have personally observed the features of many beautiful men, women and children that seem to bear this genetic quality.

Chinese have inhabited Mexico for many centuries, arriving as the servants of Spanish merchants during a period that was perilous and bleak for all who were not of European ancestry. Due to the USA barring Chinese immigration in 1882, many Asians came to Mexico with hopes of crossing the border but often it was too arduous and expensive a journey, forcing them to remain where they were. Mexico was known to the Chinese as “Big Lusong,” as opposed to “Little Lusong” their destination in the Philippines. This massive movement stemmed from immigration at the turn of the 20th century from among the Cantonese who fled poverty and adversity. Many settled in Mexicali, and other promising border towns, though scores moved further south in search of employment and housing.

Mexico has long prescribed to a very open immigration policy and in 1899 signed an agreement with the Chinese government in an effort to recruit agricultural laborers. By the 1920’s, Chinese were the second leading immigration ethnic group in Mexico.

During the Revolution, Chinese people didn’t fare well simply because they had exhibited so much success, resulting in an uprising against them. Many were murdered in vicious attacks led by Pancho Villa’s army and over the years a large portion were forced by deportation back to China. There were those who managed to escape these consequences and breached the border but the Mounted Guard, established to hold them back, was mighty and vigilant. Repatriation, however, was not long in coming and in only a few decades, Chinese were welcomed back again, creating one of the vastest cases of transnationalism in history. This trend has continued annually with nearly 6000 migratory requests granted to Chinese as recently as 2009/10.

Therefore it’s no wonder the Mexican’s love for Chinese food. Creations such as deep-fried chiles, chiles asado, served with lime and salt, carnitas coloradas (red pork/normally called barbeque pork) are standard fare. Baja style fish is strongly influenced by Asian cooking

Mexico benefited greatly from Chinese being kept out of the USA by the Mounted Guard of Chinese Inspectors, currently known as the USA Border Patrol.

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 Thanks to our Guest Blogger Adam Garcia for this great article!


Harriet Cochran Murray, Director of Cochran Real Estate, is a seasoned Real Estate professional both here in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and in the United States. Harriet has served in many capacities as a board member and President for the local Real Estate Association AMPI (AMPI is the national association of real estate professionals). She is also a member of FIABCI and NAR in the United States. Harriet’s expertise and experience in the Real Estate and especially in the Mexican market makes her Viewpoint blog articles both informational and intriguing. Harriet is a Buyer’s Agent who specializes in getting the best deal on the right property for her clients.


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