Trailer offering Venezuelan food a first-timer at fair

Published 9:30 am Thursday, August 10, 2017

When you think fair food, you think of the usual offerings: burgers, cheese curds, pizza by the slice, meat on a stick, deep-fried everything, Venezuelan food.

Venezuelan food?

The Ellendale-based Noris Cuisine food trailer is making its debut at the Mower County Fair this year.

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Owner Noris Hemingway opened the food truck on April 22.

Originally from Maracay, a city in Northern Venezuela near the Caribbean Sea, Hemingway came to the United States in 2003. Cooking runs in her blood.

“Our family business in Venezuela was a restaurant,” she said.

“I told my husband to open up a restaurant here, and he said ‘No way, Jose. The only choice you have is to open a food truck or a food trailer.’ So I’m here.”

“Around this area, I’m the only (Venezuelan food provider),” she added. “We’re the only food trailer or food truck to serve Venezuelan food in Minnesota.”

Hemingway offers arepas, sandwiches served on ground maize or cooked flour bread popular in Venezuela and Colombia, and empanadas, a Latin American fried stuffed pastry.

The Noris Cuisine food truck is making its first appearance at the Mower County Fair.

“One thing that is special about my food is that everything is made from scratch,” she said. “Everything on the menu is gluten-free. People really like the idea of having something that is gluten-free. The food is not spicy, but very flavorful, like a tropical Caribbean flavor.”

Hemingway’s 15-year-old daughter, Aracelis Sepulveda, has been assisting her by taking orders and helping prepare food as they have traveled to various festivals across Southern Minnesota.

“I don’t really like cooking,” Sepulveda said. “I’m the one who bosses people around sometimes.”

“I like bossing people around,” she added with a laugh.

Both Hemingway and Sepulveda agree the chicken avocado and roast pork and cheese arepas are their best sellers.

You may now be asking yourself if the food is good. Never fear, reader, as I took it upon myself to give it a taste. I did it for all of the good people of Mower County.

Taking their advice, I ordered the chicken avocado and roast pork and cheese arepas.

I first tried the chicken avocado arepa, biting into a chicken salad-type blend of flavorful chicken and creamy avocado that left my mouth wanting more. The warm bread complimented the coolness of the chicken and avocado nicely.

I next bit into the roast pork and cheese arepa. The pork, which Hemingway said was slow cooked over 14 hours, allowing for fork tender shreds, was so well seasoned that it needed no accompaniment. The cheese and tomato that came with it were simply lucky enough to be invited to the party.

Hemingway does not skimp on the meats. Both arepas were stuffed to a point that could satisfy even the hardiest of appetites.

“I love to cook,” Hemingway said. And it shows.

Noris Cuisine owner Noris Hemingway (left) and her daughter, Aracelis Sepulveda, show off two of their most popular arepas, the chicken avocado and roast pork with cheese.