Cheuk was a little concern
about my military fatigues because of the Shinning Path history
in Peru. I remember getting caught with them once even on a
transit at the Barbados airport where they were also illegal and
had to take them off. It was a good thing that I wasn’t going
full commander. So I made a point of changing before we land in
Cheuk had researched Lima the same time I scoped out Buenos
Aires last Christmas. Juan, his driver last December, was
waiting for us at the gate when we arrived. Our story subject
and owner of San Joy Lao, Luis Yong, is also expecting us. It
felt good to have some familiar base when you first arrive.
Luis sounds like a real showman. Cheuk tells me he is not just
an average restaurateur -- Luis also wears many multi-facet hats
as cultural ambassador, medical doctor, and cooking show host.
I’m not surprise that he has this whole show rigged with series
of events for me to film him in the milieu. I can see that this
last shoot’s gonna be a breeze. All I have to do is turn on my
camera and roll for the next week… a great way to finish the
Everyone pitches in on family day at San Joy Lao. Wife Blanca,
daughters Vanessa and Veronica man the dinning room while Luis
scrutinizes his well-greased army in the kitchen. The kitchen is
one fine piece of machinery comparable to Soongs’ in San
Fernando and Ling’s in India. I get a kick filming Luis as he
throws his weight around in the kitchen. How much of it was
hammed up for my filming purposes… I couldn’t tell. Regardless,
I was impressed with his big fire wok skills. Not bad for a
stomach and intestine specialist. There’s got to be some irony
here coming from a guy who also works with food.
On our last night, we are invited for dinner at the Yongs. Luis
is next-door neighbour to the Japanese Embassy, the scene of a
terrorist siege a few years back. As expected, it was heavily
gated with guards.
After filming Luis at the wok and listening to his stories about
his mom and dad’s cooking the other day, I was looking forward
to an intriguing Chinese-Peruvian fusion tonight. But instead we
got treated to more chicharrone in different forms served with
dry bread. Kind of like Macdonald’s… it’s the same stuff but in
different shape and form… big chich… quarter-pounder chich...
I’m glad this will be the last chich for a while to come.
It’s “The Tonight Show” with Luis Yong. I laved him up wireless
and asked him to slow down the pace not so I can keep up but I
wanted to avoid speeding up the camera like Chevy Chase’s “Latin
America Vacation”. But he still managed to dash from one room to
the next like he was Johnny Carson… delivering a polish
monologue on his life philosophy, Chinese history in Peru and
his family’s place in Peruvian society all in one continuous
take. Cheuk thinks he makes a good Fellini character. I couldn’t
help but double check to see if my camera had a secret
teleprompter feature that I wasn’t aware of. Say goodnight,