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La Caridad: A Time Capsule on the Upper West Side

Inside La Caridad. Photo by Vivian Wang.

Lo Mein and fried plantains? Beef broccoli with frijol y arroz? 

Welcome to La Caridad 78 – one of the few surviving Cuban Chinese restaurants in New York City. It’s run by current owner Sam Lee, whose father Raphael opened La Caridad in 1972 after moving to New York from Cuba as part of a narrow escape from Fidel Castro’s rule. Their menu – which serves a combination of traditional Cuban and Chinese dishes – is a testament of the success La Caridad has had in preserving the dwindling history of Chinese Cuban culture.

“I want to make sure I carry on the tradition for [my father],” says Lee in an interview conducted by Great Big Story.

And to this day, Lee still lives up to his promise. 

The restaurant continues to be a local hit for New Yorkers on the Upper West Side. It’s casual ambiance resembles those of a traditional Chinese eatery, yet upon arrival, the faint aroma of baked beans and platanos from its kitchens brings one’s senses back to the local streets of Havana. You can taste the crispy-ness of their platanos while slurping noodles from a wonton soup or try an oxtail dish with a side of baked beans. Either way, the marriage of these two vastly different cuisines works in the most unexpectedly pleasant ways.

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La Caridad
2199 Broadway (on 78th Street)
New York, NY 10024

Monday – Friday from 11:30am – 10:30pm
Sunday from 12:00pm to 10:30pm

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