Local food vendors bring a taste of their home country

Flavour of Canada village highlights food cart gourmet during Canada Day weekend on Inner Harbour

Antonio and Angelina Espinoza

Antonio Espinoza considers his mobile restaurant to be the “embassy” of Puerto Vallarta.

He, his wife Angelina and their two sons run Puerto Vallarta Amigos, a food-cart business focusing on fresh, traditional Mexican fare. They brought the fourth-generation business with them when they moved here from the resort city seven years ago and found the area wanting for authentic Mexican food.

“Sometimes the name is Mexican, but the taste isn’t for people who know it,” he says.

He didn’t want to change anything about the food’s preparation. He uses fresh produce and imports most of the spices from Mexico.

It took them six months to find an appropriate truck – they can cost up to $250,000 brand new – and they now have two that park around the city. Espinoza says food trucks are popular for Mexican businesses in California, where the focus is on bringing food to the street and making it more accessible.

Now that they’ve settled in, the family has found Victoria has a strong connection to Puerto Vallarta. Many people who previously lived in the city come up to them, saying the dishes make them feel like they’re back home.

He says it’s important to have the trucks at events around the city to show people what Mexico is about.

Puerto Vallarta Amigos is just one of the international food vendors that will be at Ship Point from July 1 to 3 for Flavour of Canada, an international food village.

Other vendors will cook up dishes from Hungary, India, Argentina, Greece and Hawaii. Local barbecue joint Smoken Bones Cookshack will present North American fare.

The event, which replaces the food fair at the former Folkfest, will also have activities and presentations from cultural groups throughout the weekend.

A performance stage will host 10 local bands and artists, including Krystle Dos Santos, Mike Hann and Salsa Caliente.

intern@vicnews.com

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