Voices: Taco Trucks in Every Corner? Where's My Cuchifrito Truck?

by Patricia Guadalupe /  / Updated 
People wait for their food as others line up to place their orders at Kogi, a Korean BBQ-inspired taco truck, in Torrance
People wait for their food as others line up to place their orders at a taco truck in Torrance, California. REUTERS/Danny MoloshokREUTERS

It was the statement that launched a thousand stuffed faces.

Trump surrogate Marco Gutiérrez, founder of Latinos for Trump, sounded the alarm: “My culture is a very dominant culture, and it’s imposing and it’s causing problems. If you don’t do something about it, you’re going to have taco trucks on every corner.”

Sorry Mr. Gutiérrez, we hate to have to tell you this, but it's worse than you think. Our "dominant" culture can generate a lot more than taco trucks. With 55 million Latinos in the U.S. from different nationalities and cuisines, the reality is that you can be talking a veritable invasion of "comida criolla" out there, in every street corner in America.

Not into tacos much? That's okay fellow Americans, since around the corner the cuchifrito truck has all that delish Puerto Rican street cuisine: Papas rellenas, pastelillos, tripleta, alcapurrias, bacalaítos and mofongo.

Around the corner, the arepas truck with all the Venezuelan and Colombian varieties of fried, grilled, steamed, or boiled dough filled with cheese, meat, vegetables, fish or a combination is busy filling out orders.

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Does that sound like a lot of Latino food trucks? We're just getting started. Walk a few blocks, and you'll run into the Dominican truck selling sancocho and mangú; wash it down with a morir soñando. They're busy trying to wrestle customers from the competing Salvadoran truck offering pupusas that you can get de queso, revueltas or con frijoles y carne.

But wait, where are those other people going? These corners are out of control. Others are walking toward the truck with food from Argentina, a parrillada truck with churrascos and other cuts of tasty meats offered with some chimichurri. The competition is fierce.

Is that the Cuban truck causing a massive traffic jam as Americans jump out of their car to get congrí, Cuban sandwiches, medianoches and moros y cristianos (that's rice and black beans, but don't worry, the whole country will know that soon enough, of course).

Watch out for trouble as those gathered around the ceviche truck argue over which kind of ceviche is the best: cold, cooked, raw; should you add tomato sauce or not, cut up the shrimp or serve it whole, what about onions, do you serve the dish with them or not? This is how civil wars start, people.

That's not even taking into account the existential threats of the tamales truck: Tamal with banana leaves or corn husks? What to put in them: meat or vegetable? The possibilities — and controversies — are endless.

And then there's beans, our new staple. There would be big discussions around the rice and beans trucks on every corner: red beans, black beans, pink beans, garbanzo beans and should the rice be white, yellow, orange, brown? Should one combine the rice and beans beforehand or served separately? What about the arroz con salchichitas, or Vienna sausages for thos of you still not in the know? And should there be a tostones truck with all those fried and baked plantains next to the rice and beans truck, since it goes well together? Oh my, there are not crosswalks left!

Americans love potatoes, right? Well then fasten your seat belts. There are close to 4,000 varieties of the tubers in Peru, so you’d probably need more than one Peruvian food truck on every corner to try every kind, and that’s not even counting all the other Peruvian dishes out there that makes the cuisine one of the most varied in the entire world. Those would probably be another hundred more trucks on every corner.

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All that food is not even counting drink trucks. A piña colada truck on every corner would probably cause a stampede, as would a mojito truck, a banana daiquirí truck, a pisco sour truck and a Cuba Libre truck. The choices are endless! And we have not forgotten the kiddies; we have the non-alcoholic Malta India and Malta Goya trucks, the Jarritos truck with all those great flavors and the Inca Kola truck. We got you covered!

Need dessert? Make room for the trucks peddling flan, tres leches, alfajores, meringues, limbers, paletas, cajeta, dulce de leche and pastelillos de guayaba, just to name a few.

For anyone feeling a little sluggish after all that food and drink, we have Bustelo coffee trucks on every corner. Think of the extra productivity as every American worker has a cortadito before heading back to the office after the awesome Latino lunch.

On every corner. We're there. It’s enough to put even the strongest person into a food coma.

No wonder that Trump surrogate is worried.

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