By Aimee Chanthadavong
The mobile food trucks trend may still be in its infancy in the Australian market, but for some like Carlos Benitez and Nela Ramirez it has been enough to be a testing ground for their dream to open up a Venezuelan restaurant in Adelaide.
After five years of being on the road, the pair has moved their mobile food vendor business, Candela Latin American Food, into a bricks and mortar business.
“We started testing our products in small markets and catering events, to gauge people’s response,” said cook Nela Ramirez.
“Since then, we’ve been continually taking only the best recipes, sauces and ingredients to serve high quality Latin American food. A few years later and once we knew who our customers were, understood the culinary culture and adapted our food to the South Australian market without losing authenticity, we felt it was time to open up shop.”
So what’s different about having a shop front? Ramirez said it gives customers a better dining experience.
“The reason to open a bricks and mortar business was to give our customers more of a Latin American experience from the food, the colours, the music and most importantly, the flavours,” she said.
And the customers haven’t disagreed.
“The customers are very happy with the move,” Ramirez said.
“The general consensus is now they don’t have to wait for a special event in the city – they can enjoy a delicious arepa, empanada or a delicious serve of Churros any time at Candela,” she said.
“Our regulars know and love the food and we’re very happy to see them coming back for more Latin American goodness with family and friends.”
Ramirez said they will also continue to make appearances as a food truck at various markets around town to ensure they’re serving the hungry masses.
“We love the vibe of popping up at markets and special events,” she said.
“We meet so many amazing people and get to widen our customer base at the same time! Events like Fork on the Road are great for new vendors to test the waters. Also, we love to see happy faces trying our dishes especially when the try our delicious secret recipe of chimichurri sauce!”