Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Delicias = "Delight" (In More Ways Than One)

I admit that I’m not familiar with South American food. This is likely due to my limited accessibility, as I haven’t seen many places that serve such fare here in Philadelphia. Delicias, a new food truck located on Market between 34th and 36th, fortunately seemed to be the answer to my problems.

This authentic Venezuelan food truck officially opened its doors (or should I say window?) a few weeks ago and is quickly building a strong customer base. Delicias’ menu is primarily composed of two traditional South American street foods: arepas (filled griddled corn patties, popular in Spanish-speaking countries) and fried empanadas (crescent-shaped deep-fried turnovers). A few specials (i.e. choripan [a spicy chorizo sandwich]; white clam chowder; rotating weekly special) round out the menu. Having never tried an arepa before, I was tempted to order one, but was distracted by the equally-delicious-sounding weekly special: asado negro. The “blackened roast beef with malt sauce and secret ingredients” description called out to me, and before I knew it, I’d ordered a platter.

The owners behind the counter were quick and efficient in preparing the food. I paid with cash, but I do believe they take credit cards: something to note if you’re averse to carrying bills around. As I searched for a place to sit, the dish’s fragrant smell wafted out of the closed Styrofoam box: it was nothing short of intoxicating. I couldn’t wait to dig in!

Delicias’ roast beef was incredibly tender; its sumptuous, meaty juices exploded in my mouth with each bite. What truly made it superb, though, was the phenomenally flavorful sauce that accompanied it. How I wish I knew the secret ingredients so I could recreate the dish at home! The delicious sauce also served to flavor the fluffy white rice beneath. I was quite pleased with the sides that accompanied the main dish. The black beans—earthy and hearty—were lovingly topped with milky melted cotija cheese, while the plantains lent a sweet, caramelized flavor that made the whole platter sparkle. The serving was generously portioned, with enough there for me to consume over two meals.

While I’m happy I tried the week’s specialty, I’m still interested in trying an arepa. More specifically, I want to sample an arepa filled with traditional pabellon (Venezuala’s national dish, which is a mixture of shredded beef, plantains, rice and black beans). Oh, and another bonus? The arepas are made of corn flour, meaning that they’re wheat- and gluten-free!

Ultimately, I’d go out of my way to enjoy these tasty Venezuelan treats. Maybe I’ll have time to swing by and grab an arepa in between classes this week. (;

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