Saturday, September 23, 2023

BC Culture Days Latin America at Pacific Arts Market, Vancouver

Greetings on this rainy Saturday! I am fortunate to reside just a few blocks from Pacific Arts Market. This establishment has recently delighted us with its vibrant events (see Vancouver Night Market), especially those featuring delectable culinary offerings.

Today, our rendezvous at Pacific Arts revolves around celebrating Latin America's rich and diverse flavours. Needless to say, I'm here to savour every delightful dish presented by the participating vendors. We arrived in the area at around 2:30 in the afternoon, and based on earlier pictures, some vendors had already left.

Taquitos from Lita's Mexican Food

Our gastronomic expedition starts at Lita's Mexican food, where the enticing aroma of taquitos beckons. These little gems sport a crispy exterior, and the hot sauce makes it perfect on this chilly day.

Chicken Taquitos from Lita's Mexican Food

If you don't know, taquitos are a popular Mexican dish, often served as finger foods or appetizers. These cheese and meat-filled tortillas are typically deep-fried until they become crispy and golden brown. Lita's taquitos are available in grocery stores, so go check them out.

Mote con Chicharrón from La Yapa

We're venturing into uncharted culinary territory as we try Ecuadorian cuisine for the first time at La Yapa. We picked two delectable choices: the Mote Con Chicharrón and Guagua de Pan.

The Mote con Chicharrón is a revelation. It features mote (hominy), which is corn that has been treated with an alkali to remove the outer hull, causing the corn kernels to puff up and have a soft, chewy texture. It serves as the base for the chicharrón (fried pieces of pork). It is fatty, juicy, and oh-so succulent, harmonizing perfectly with the tender corn.

Mote con Chicharrón from La Yapa

Meanwhile, guagua de pan is a traditional Ecuadorian sweet bread decorated with coloured icing. The bread is slightly firmer than expected and likely became stale due to the cold and rainy weather. I wish I could try this fresh from the oven.

Guagua de Pan from La Yapa

Beef Quesadillas from Mi Casa Cucina Mexicana

Prepare yourself, for what I'm about to share is nothing short of a culinary epiphany. Mi Casa Cucina Mexicana serves up what can only be described as the pinnacle of Mexican beef in Vancouver.

Beef Quesadillas from Mi Casa Cucina Mexicana

The beef is tender, juicy, and bursting with flavour and placed upon a warm tortilla covered with melted cheese. It's a symphony of taste that I can't wait to revisit at their location on the corner of 4th Avenue and Burrard and perhaps again on Cinco de Mayo.

Tamales from Jicama y Perejil

This is my second time trying tamales (a traditional Mesoamerican dish made of masa that is filled with various ingredients, wrapped in a corn husk, and then steamed or boiled), and the first time was also because of a Pacific Arts event. I chose tender chicken enveloped by a tamale's embrace.

Chicken Tamales from Jicama y Perejil

While the chicken's tender is undeniable, the texture of the corn gives pause, exhibiting an unexpected grittiness. Moreover, I know tamales need to be served hot, but this is not warm enough to melt the cheese on top.

Nachos from TACO'N Todo food truck

I have a mild obsession with food trucks and have made a checklist of food trucks in Vancouver.

Beef Nachos from TACO'N Todo food truck

I ordered nachos topped with beef and was pleasantly shocked at the serving size. It's good enough for three people, and we manage to conquer it as a duo. The nacho chips, a personal weakness, deliver pure satisfaction, making this dish a resounding success.

After our food adventure, we make our way to church for the 5 PM Anticipated Mass, and I find myself writing this post inside Blenz Coffee at the corner of West Broadway and Maple. I will edit it at home later this evening.

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