If there’s something common about Peruvians it’s that we LOVE to eat and our appreciation for food runs very deep within us. It may probably be because of the diversity of our cuisine; our cuisine has been influenced by so many countries, such as, Spain, China, Japan, Italy and countries from Africa just to mention a few. All this influence, mixed with our native cuisine and our unique ingredients, creates a fusion full of flavor; without a doubt a very tasteful experience.
When I moved to New York I didn’t know that those who have so much love and appreciation for food fell into a category called “foodie”. So, I became one, although in all honesty I was born a “foodie” even before I knew that word existed. For this reason, I had to pay honor to the label I was carrying and for the past four years I’ve been on a mission called: “I won’t deprive myself from eating Peruvian food”. To find good Peruvian spots that can bring me back home by just grabbing a bite, became one of my objectives in this city.
Through this years it’s been very exciting to see the number of Peruvian restaurants and eateries go up. I’ve been exploring the city and nearby boroughs, and I’ve found a significant number of Peruvian spot until not too long ago I found a place that really caught my eye (and my palate). This particular spot, was like no other, because it was a PERUVIAN FOOD TRUCK! When I found out about it I said “I MUST GO!”, not only because it was a new Peruvian spot but because it was a FOOD TRUCK: the first Peruvian food truck in NYC! So I took the train 6 down to Union Square and walked to the West side of the park where commonly you will find food trucks aligned by the sidewalk. There, you will see a brown food truck with its name encrypted: MOROCHO!
While I was crossing the street, I said to myself “these guys are brilliant, they brought the Peruvian creole soul to NY”. To see a ‘carrito de comida” selling Peruvian food was fascinating. I felt I was back in my homeland! I was welcomed with a smile from one of the guys and I took at look at the menu, definitely not the typical “Carrito sanguchero” from Peru that offers “Salchipapas” or “Pan con Pollo”; this one offers anticuchos, lomo saltado, aji de gallina, poor man’s burger, and much more -HEAVEN!-
My friend got the poor man’s burger a.k.a “hamburguesa a lo pobre” and I got a lomo saltado quesadilla. Both, to die for! The burger had beef, fried eggs, fried plantains, lettuce, tomato, onions and rocoto mayo, it’s a explosion of flavor in your mouth and the rocoto gives a kick to it. The lomo saltado quesadilla consisted of a delicious rib eye sauteed with onions and tomato in a quesadilla; just let me say: perfectly seasoned tender meat! All this, accompanied by an Inca Kola and/or a Chicha Morada, you can’t go wrong with this.
I came back weeks later to try the anticuchos and the aji the gallina, they didn’t dissapoint! Anticuchos were superb and you must try it with the aji panca. If you want to try the aji de gallina, try to go early because you probably won’t find it after 5 (it’s goes fast). During this visit, I talked to one the minds behind Morocho, Rafael, who told me that him and his brother had the idea of opening a Peruvian food spot for a while but they wanted to start small, just to taste the waters. Morocho became a reality once Miguel was transferred from San Francisco to NYC to work as a chef at Gaston Acurio’s La Mar. They saw the opportunity in the food truck industry and they went for it, they knew the potential of food trucks, especially in this city, and it has definitely been a good way to start.
So far, things have been great for them, they have loyal customers and everyday new adapters; they were voted as one of the “Top 10 Burger in NYC”; and their dreams keep getting big as they focus on opening more food trucks and in a near future a small restaurant in the city. I’m pretty sure they will make this happen, they have the talent, the vision and the willingness to do so! All the best for them and for all of you who are reading, pay them a visit and try affordable, yet incredible good Peruvian food.