La comida es algo muy fuerte, or, Food is a very strong thing.
A fryer full of oil and empanadas bubbles inside Angie's Latin Food truck. It's parked in an empty lot on Chelton St. under a Walmart sign.
In the cramped space, Wilmer Adelid Machado and Olga Canales sidestep one another, taking orders at the window, talking to customers on the phone, and preparing traditional Honduran food with fresh ingredients.
Pickled loroco is a signature Honduran ingredient. It's made from the green, unopened flower buds of a tropical vine that grows in abundance in Central America. Machado and Canales add it to their popular pupusas, which are warm, thick, soft tortillas filled with a combination of cheese, beans, or meat and served with fresh cabbage.
Machado and Canales say they came to the United States about 10 years ago, but they want to stay connected to their Honduran roots. One way they do this is by speaking only Spanish at home. Another is through food. They named their food truck after their young daughter.
Outside, Evan Alvarez waits at a plastic picnic table. He's 20 years old and works at a discount store.
"All my family's from Honduras," he says. "I just moved three years ago, so I can tell you [Honduran food] is pretty good. I love it."
He's just ordered the most popular dish at Angie's Latin Food. It's called pollo con tajadas: fried chicken with fried green bananas.
Alvarez says he visits the food truck multiple times per week with his friend Luis Perez, who's from the Dominican Republic. Perez says shortly after they moved from Miami, they looked up Honduran food in the Springs, but couldn't find anything.
"...and then a week later, we're just driving by and we see Spanish food and we were like 'Oh.' Then we look at the menu, we see baleadas, and we were like 'Oh hell no. We gotta stop. We gotta eat.' So we've been coming since," Perez says.
A baleada is a traditional Honduran dish with fried beans and crumbled cheese spread over a soft, fresh flour tortilla. It's a staple on the menu at Angie's Latin Food.
Machado says he didn't realize how many other Hondurans there were in Colorado Springs until they opened the food truck.
"Nosotros los Hondureños aquí en la ciudad estamos muy dispersos, o sea, no estamos concentradas en una área específica. Yo, en mi caso, no sabía que había tantos Hondureños acá," he says.
"We Hondurans in this city are spread out. We're not concentrated in a specific area. In my case, I didn't know there were so many Hondurans here."
The food truck is popular with people from many places in Latin America, including Cuba, Mexico, and El Salvador. But Machado says they have about 100 Honduran customers who visit regularly, and for some, the food is more than just lunch.
"La comida, en realidad, es algo muy fuerte, especialmente para las personas que viven solos acá que tal vez pasen años de no probar algo tradicional de Honduras," Machado says.
"Food is a very strong thing, especially for people who live here alone, who maybe go years without tasting something traditional from Honduras."
He and Canales serve up baleadas and pollo con tajadas to their two customers waiting outside.
Luis Perez says the food is delicious, but there's more to it than that:
"Makes you feel at home."
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