Morocho, Peruvian street food takes New York

Since I moved to NYC, I have spent a lot of time looking for places to eat, and being the foodie that I am, I’m sure this comes as no surprise to anyone. My favorite places are already too many to name here, but one thing I am guilty of not having payed enough attention to, are the innumerable food trucks I see every day on the streets. I have stood and stared every time I encountered one, and have constantly been amazed by how one can find the whole world’s gastronomy on the sidewalks of New York; but maybe standing in line under the sun, or eating while walking is not my thing. Or at least it wasn’t, until last weekend.

 

It’s been quite disappointing and surprising, that after many months of finding so many popular food trucks all over town, I never saw a Peruvian one. This, for me, implied that maybe we’re exaggerating a bit when we say Peruvian food is the next big thing. It seemed like a far away dream to watch people standing in line to savor our dishes in their lunch breaks. But last Saturday, my prayers were heard, when my mom and I were shopping at the Union Square Greenmarket and discovered a brown truck called Morocho, announcing things like anticuchos, salsa criolla, and chicha morada. It-was-about-time.
Parked in Union Square West, Peruvians, Peruvian food lovers, and the curious, adventorous, and hungry, can now find this food truck by friendly brothers Miguel and Rafael Samanez, everyday except Mondays, from 11.30am to 7 or 8 pm. Miguel is a trained chef who moved to NYC 8 months ago for the opening of Gaston Acurio’s La Mar, in Madison Square Park; but starting a Peruvian food truck had been a rambling idea in his mind for over a year. Four weeks ago, it finally became a reality. Their menu includes their bestsellers, aji de gallina (it’s always completely gone by the end of the day), and anticuchos; vegetarian options such as papa a la huancaina; and also Mexican-Peruvian fusion dishes, like lomo saltado tacos that have the purpose of seducing and enticing people who shy away from new eating experiences. There are a few options that may seem completely Mexican, like the carnitas taco, but even here they blend-in Peruvian flavors, such as their aji panca BBQ sauce.

Miguel was born in Brazil to Peruvian parents, and lived in Peru for 6 years before relocating to the States with his whole family in 1989. He had moved from Ohio to San Francisco in 2005, when, having cooked Peruvian food at home with his mother all his life, he decided to take it to the next level and enroll in culinary school. After that came gigs at La Mar in San Francisco, and then in NYC, under the wing of Chef Victoriano Lopez, who taught him many new things about Peruvian cooking. With Morocho, his dream is to open more food trucks in the future, and then a small restaurant in the city.

 
They decided to start small, because they’re aware of how demanding and difficult New Yorkers can be, compared to the public in other places, so Morocho is their attempt at slowly introducing Peruvian dishes to the passers-by, in a low-key and affordable, but high quality manner. People who eat at Morocho, are getting not only the real flavors -their ingredients are directly brought from Peru-, but also the real Peruvian experience. In Peru, after all, most of the eating is done at food vendor stalls in the street and market.

 

I know where I’ll be spending a lot of this summer’s sunny days.

 

Comments

  1. I spent a summer working a mission trip in Lima, Peru. Many of my friends lost weight on Mission trips, being unaccustomed to local foods. I, on the other hand, gained 5 lbs! I LOVE Peruvian food. From the somewhat odd (to Americans) purple corn, to grilled guinea pig, to ceviche, to a yellow sauce I could not remember the name of until today – aji amarillo… thank you very much for reminding me! And let us not forget the drink I horde any time I find it – Inca Kola! ….. I’m hungry now…..

    I have lived in many places by I visit New York quite commonly regardless. I WILL look for this truck on my next visit. I’ll likely want aji de gallina. And an Inca Kola. Thank you for this informative article. I’ve shared it with several friends.

  2. That is awesome I have never tried Peruvian food but would love to. I travel to NYC a lot I must stop by soon and give it a try! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Great find. Can I just tell you how much I love Inca Kola? It’s like sweet, effervescent, crisp, cool, sunshine in a can.

    • Peru Delights says:

      In Peru, the slogan for Inca Kola is “la bebida con sabor nacional”, and as you say, it´s very sweet and crisp… delicious.

  4. Like you, I hardly ever eat street food even though I’ve lived in NYC most of my life. So great that you’ve found a Peruvian food truck!

  5. I definitely will have to check them out, even if it’s just for the Chicha Morado that I love – Have you been to Urubamba yet? – they are my favorite Peruvian – check out my review of them here – http://gourmetglobal.blogspot.com/2010/06/urubamba-peruvian-cuisine.html

  6. I love that they have vegetarian options! and the bloggie camera is super cool too. I haven’t tried Inca Kola yet, but it looks like you’re enjoying it so I’ll have to give it a try. Thanks for sharing new things!

  7. Girl! If you can’t a food truck in NY that doesn’t offer your own food, then umm, we need to rethink that! NY has it ALL! It’s what makes that place so darn special. So thrilled for you that you found one. And one where the guy is a cutie! Imma tweet them and let them know I found them through you! :)

  8. Shirley says:

    This is so great! Congrats to the owners. I’ll be trying the truck tomorrow.

  9. Luis Mayta says:

    Wow!!!!! i will try it this weekend… Finally a place to eat on the go!! Arriba Peru!!!

  10. Cesar Hidalgo says:

    Hey guys here from Connecticut , please let us know where and when you guys are working , we live so close to NY , We would like to try the food . Congratulations !!!

  11. fantastique.

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