Borinquen Soul: Street Food for the Homesick Boricua

Oakland’s Mexican food deserves all the praise it gets, but the Bay Area has a paucity of options for many of the other Latin American cuisines. Where do you go for good Dominican food? Or Colombian food? Or Puerto Rican food? (These are honest questions; feel free to enlighten me in the comments.)

In most instances, you’re lucky if there’s even a single local restaurant to carry the banner. Homesick natives have no choice, then, but to trek out to San Rafael or somewhere deep in the Mission for arepas or pasteles that may or may not bear a passing resemblance to what they ate growing up.

So Chris Caraballo and Eric Rivera, two Puerto Rican guys who moved to Oakland four years ago, decided to take things in their own hands. Two years ago, the pair of New York City transplants started a catering company called Borinquen Soul, serving up traditional Puerto Rican dishes like empanadillas (beef turnovers) and arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas). Three months ago, their operation went mobile, as the pair launched what they say is the first Puerto Rican food truck in Northern California.

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