Follow the Llama to the Best Sandwich in Salt Lake

April 2019

Our history lessons have never done justice by the culinary and social cultural histories of peoples.  For instance, though many know of the Incan and Spanish influences on the history of the indigenous peoples of Peru who would have known that there have been cultural and culinary influences on these peoples by historic and current Asian cultures.  Peru is a country that is not only defined by the Incan and Spanish rulers but also by a broader variety of European and Asian cultural influences and climatic/geographical influences. The varied climate and the cultural influences have over time dictated the geographical, climatic, cultural variety in Peruvian cuisine.

Peruvian cuisine is one of both simple and complex diversity, with ancient to modern day influences in both the style of cooking and variable ingredients from its regional climates. Peruvian culinary beginnings included a rich array of native foods, recipes and techniques prior to the Spanish Colonization, due to its biodiversity.  As new cultures arrived, their influences took existing regional dishes and offered alternative takes or new dishes influenced by the locally available resources.

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The awesome team of Guido, Araceli and Laura

Chifa, Chinese-Peruvian cuisine, is a blend of traditional Chinese with native Peruvian ingredients and is where we now focus on the delicacies our friends Guido, Araceli and Laura provide at The Red Food Truck(www.facebook.com/rft.peruviansandwiches/).  Drawing from the influence of potatoes, rice, peppers and traditional spices, there is a dish which our friends at The Red Food Truck, owned by Maria Luisa Romero,  do so well it afforded them the title of Best Independent Sandwich 2018 in Salt Lake by MSN via Google and Yelp (www.msn.com/en-us/foodanddrink/restaurantsandnews/best-independent-sandwich-shop-in-every-state/ar-BBPstsI) and Business Owner of the Year – 2016 by the Utah Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. 

Peruvians are extremely welcoming and this holds true for Guido, the front man of the operations.  Proud of the product provided by both him, Araceli and Laura, Guido welcomes everyone with a smile.  Independency has facilitated The Red Food Truck to focus on the quality of their product, to continue the long standing culinary traditions of the Chifas and other Peruvian delicacies, and to focus on the welcoming nature of the Peruvian culture. The care of service and quality of the food they serve is a standard of introduction to Peruvian culinary culture that other operators cannot say that they provide with their own menus and their own products.

Now we mentioned the influence of Chinese immigration on the Peruvian culinary culture, but we didn’t say specifics about it.  A lot of the influence the Chinese had is seen in the style of cooking and presentation of prepared dishes.  Using traditional Chinese-Cantonese stir fry traditions, the Chinese immigrants took very traditional meat, onion, tomatoes, herbs, peppers, potato and vinegar combinations, and created what has quickly become a Peruvian traditional plate in Lomo Saltado.  The Red Food Truck provides their delectable offering of Lomo Saltado as a plate and also a sandwich.  Though Lomo Saltado is traditionally created by stir fry The Red Food Truck combines marinated strips of sirloin with onions, tomatoes, Peruvian herbs and spices, and grills such to succulent perfection.  Served with French fries (the potato incorporation) and white rice the plate is presented in a very traditional style.  Whether you get the Lomo Saltado plate or the Lomo Saltado sandwich, both will be served with the same care taken to prepare the sirloin and seasoned expertly not to take away from the taste of the

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The Red Food Truck’s Pollo Saltado

meat.  Araceli and Laura also prepare a chicken version, Pollo Saltado, which incorporates the same care and flavor as the sirloin without drying out the chicken. Their Lomo Saltado is a must for any first timer.

Now with a base plate starting with their Lomo Saltado, the whole team increases the flavor enticement with their pepper based sauce.  Starting with fresh Ajis Amarillo (Peruvian Yellow Chili Peppers), Araceli and Laura find a way to pack in tremendous flavor with a heat profile near 6 out of 10, near-above the traditional Mexican Serrano.  This vinegar and Aji Amarillo based sauce is so wickedly deceiving, the standard sauce will let you know you have used it but the flavor stays with the elevated heat profile.  Unlike many scorcher sauces, this sauce is hot and tasty!  Yes Guido will provide alternative mild versions, but here at the Chicken Thief Kitchens we encourage you to test your heat boundaries.

The Red Food Truck’s Quinoa Salad uses this ancestral grain (similar to Indian Rice) that comes in three varieties and is significant to many Peruvian kitchen meals.  Tasty in its own right, this salad is a great vegetarian option for those inclined to skip the beef.  For those seeking more chicken (cue the cow-bell) The Red Food Truck offers a Pollo a la Brasa sandwich. This 1950s sourced dish combines marinated roasted chicken with onions and tomatoes in a presentation that harkens to its beginnings in Lima, Peru.  Presented with a few sauce variants, our recommendation is again the Aji Amarillo sauce, you can crank up the heat or enjoy a mild offering of your choice.  Last but not least on this list and a must try as well, is their slow cooked Asado de Puerco Sandwich combing slow roasted marinated pork tenderloin with its own sauce from the drippings served on a warm bun with lettuce, onions and tomatoes and offered with a wide range of sauces.  Though traditionally a slow roasted roast beef sliced thin and served with rice and potatoes, The Red Food Truck’s twist on this traditional sandwich will still rival any French Dip baguette we have tried thus far.

All we can say is that if you are lucky to be in the Salt Lake Valley and have a chance to come across the Llama, let it lead you to The Red Food Truck and check it out.  Guido, Araceli and Laura will provide you with a twisted traditional take on ancestral Peruvian delicacies that will rival other local options and provide you a hint of the treats down south in Peru.

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Follow the Llama to The Red Food Truck in Salt Lake