What it means

Chop suey's origins are hazy, but its introduction to the American diet probably has something to do with the immigrant laborers who worked the West Coast's railroads and mines in the 19th century. Chinese workers also brought their cuisine to Peru, where they harvested sugar and mined guano.

The national adaptation of the traditional soy-sauced stir fry (lomo means loin; saltado is a past tense of jump, which is what sliced beef does when heated in oil) features tomatoes, chili and potatoes. Lomo saltado fans debate whether the all-important french fries should be placed on, under or around the meat-and-onion mix. Unlike chop suey, lomo saltado isn't considered essentially Chinese: It's very much a Peruvian specialty.

Where we saw it

Pollo Loko Peruvian Cuisine (formerly Pollo Tropical Charcoal Grill), 5335 Dorchester Road

Where else you can try it

Best as we can tell, Pollo Loko is the lone Charleston-area purveyor of the dish.

Where to buy it

Lomo saltado recipes abound. While each of them represents a slightly different perspective on whether garlic is required and which beef cut works best, what unifies the various preparations is simplicity: This is one-pan cooking at its most rudimentary.

The ingredients are also easy to find, although it might take a trip to a Latin grocery store to locate fresh or jarred aji amarillo. If you can't track down the yellow chile pepper, any chile pepper will do.

Hanna Raskin