The capital of Baja California, Mexicali is well-known for its desert landscapes, fabulous museums, and some of the best Chinese foods in Mexico. This vibrant city is located right on the outskirts of the Colorado River.
Foodies visiting Mexicali will instantly fall in love with the regional cuisine. In addition to Mexican delicacies like tacos and enchiladas, Mexicali has the largest concentration of Chinese restaurants in all of Mexico.
Wish to know more about Mexicali Chinese foods and why this city is nicknamed “Little Canton” in China? This guide to the best Chinese foods in Mexicali and where you should try it has got you covered.
Table of Contents
Mexicali Chinese Food History
The city of Mexicali has a large Chinese community. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the city is home to more than 300 Chinese restaurants. It all started at the end of the 19th century when the US banned immigrants from China from entering the country.
Consequently, thousands of Chinese laborers began arriving in places like Mazatlan and Ensenada in Mexico to work on the construction of railways. These people settled near the border and the Chinese demographic in the area began to multiply.
The first Chinese immigrants came to Mexicali around 1900. Most of them arrived from what is now known as the city of Guangzhou in China. The Mexican government offered contracts to Chinese workers to build the railroad on both sides of the Mexican/US border.
To make some extra cash, these Chinese laborers and their families began introducing Chinese cuisine to Mexicali. Today, travelers will find Chinese dining establishments at almost every street corner in Mexicali.
Best Mexicali Chinese Foods
Chinese food is the signature cuisine in Mexicali. Here, Cantonese cooking blends with Mexican flavors with a popular expression “Chinese food, the Mexicali kind”. Saucy beef strips are served alongside mango, while avocado goes perfectly together with chorizo and fried rice. To try these unique Chinese-Mexican fusions, all you have to do is step inside one of the many Chinese eateries in Mexicali.
Instead of Americanized Chinese dishes, the traditional Chinese restaurants in Mexicali serve Cantonese-style dishes prepared with local Mexican ingredients like jicama and chilies. Expect to find a variety of pork, chicken, shrimp, beef, and fried rice dishes on their menus. Some of our favorite Chinese foods in Mexicali include egg rolls with cilantro and cream cheese and skirt steak with asparagus and white rice.
There is also Camaron Enchilado, shrimp fried in flour and breadcrumbs and tossed in a sauce with ingredients like cornstarch, sugar, and salt. This popular Chinese meal in Mexicali is served with red bell peppers, scallions, and stir-fried bean sprouts.
No visit to Mexicali Chinese restaurants is complete without ordering the Peking Duck which is typically served with bao buns and hoisin sauce.
If you like chicken dishes, we recommend ordering Pechuga Mongol. This mouthwatering dish includes chicken breast in Mongol Sauce served with onions, bell peppers, chile de arbol, and oyster sauce. Stuffed with pork and cabbage, Fried chiun cun is also something definitely worth ordering at Chinese restaurants in Mexicali.
Best Chinese Restaurants in Mexicali
Most of the Chinese restaurants in Mexicali are located around the Chinesca. This area is also home to one of these Chinese dining establishments in the city called the China House. Chef Esteban Luis is in charge of preparing delicious Chinese dishes at this fabulous restaurant.
China House is all about authentic Cantonese/Mexican dishes served family style. Steaming meals are made from scratch, served on large platters, and designed to be shared among friends and families.
Try the Peking Duck which is served with steamed bao, peanuts, hoisin sauce, and choy sum. You can also try the fried rice with shrimp pork, and green onion, or go for the calamari with chistorro and asparagus. If you like fish, we recommend getting steamed fish with mushrooms in a delicious garlic sauce.
Opened back in the 1930s, Restaurante Victoria is one of the oldest Chinese restaurants in the area. If you are looking for an old-school Chinese eatery packed with locals enjoying authentic Cantonese foods, a visit to Victoria in Mexicali is simply a must.
The food menu is extensive with plenty of delicious meals to choose from. Whether you wish to try classic dishes like fried rice and egg rolls or go for the signature la vaquita especial, there is something for everyone. For dessert, order a slice of their cheesecake or try the Chinese bread.
We should definitely tell you more about the signature dish at Victoria, la vaquita especial. This combo of shrimp, beef, chicken, and pork meat served alongside lots of veggies and fried rice is simply amazing.
Next on our list of the best Chinese restaurants in Mexicali is the charming Dragon Restaurante. With a brightly lit banquet hall, this authentic Cantonese-Mexican fusion Chinese dining establishment is one of the most beautiful Chinese restaurants in the city.
For starters, go for the gold mushroom soup. If you are feeling adventurous, we recommend getting the shark fin soup with red vinegar. Meat lovers can order the kung pao chicken. The Cantonese chow mein is definitely one of the most popular dishes here.
Chiang’s Cocina China
Welcome to Chiang’s Cocina China, a traditional Chinese restaurant known for its excellent service and delicious and reasonably priced Cantonese dishes. The signature Mongolian chicken is amazing, as well as the steamed fish and Dim Sum.
Seafood lovers will want to try the tasty squid served with asparagus. The Roast Duck at Chiang’s Cocina China is prepared to perfection. This restaurant also has a nice bakery. Don’t leave before trying the Hong Kong-style custard tarts.
One of the newest additions to the Chinese cuisine scene in Mexicali, the Imperial Garden is a beautiful dining establishment where both locals and tourists come to enjoy tasty Chinese/Mexican gourmet-style dishes. With its huge open spaces, tall ceilings, stylish decorations, and a small pond with koi fish, the restaurant looks gorgeous.
For starters, we recommend the hearty soup made with shark fin called Sopa de Aleta. No visit to this restaurant is complete without getting the fried rice with pork and veggies called Arrroz Frito con Puerco. If you are a fan of chicken, go for Pollo con Pina which includes chicken and pineapple served in a savory sauce.
Mexicali Chinese Food FAQ
Why is Chinese food so popular in Mexicali?
As we mentioned before, Mexicali has a huge population of Chinese people. Therefore, it comes as no surprise to see hundreds of Chinese restaurants in Mexicali. What also makes Chinese food in Mexicali is the fact that the cuisine here is a mix of Cantonese dishes and Mexican ingredients.
What Mexican Foods to Try in Mexicali?
Mexican cuisine is delicious, especially in places like Tijuana. However, Mexicali is also home to some amazing Mexican restaurants where you can sample a variety of tasty foods like tacos, mulita, menudo, and sincrodizadas.
Consisting of 2 cork or flour tortillas, ham, and cheese, Sincronizadas are tasty Mexican snacks. Some of the other fillings may include things like chorizo sausage and beans.
You can also try Mulitas, also known as quesadillas on steroids. This popular Mexican dish consists of a tortilla filled with everything from salsa and guacamole to cheese and chunks of grilled meat.
As for Menudo, it is a traditional Mexican soup that contains tripe, hominy corn, chili, onion, and some garlic.
Are Craft Beers Popular in Mexicali?
Craft beer lovers will be delighted to hear that Mexicali is home to a few amazing microbreweries. The city’s proximity to San Diego in the US makes it quite easy for the locals to source ingredients and equipment for making beer in Mexicali. We should also mention that Mexicali hosts an annual craft beer festival. Cucapa, Tres B, and Cerveceria are three of the most famous microbreweries in Mexicali.