KENNER, La (WGNO) — On “one sweet day” (in the words of Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men), I joined Honduran-native, Tulio Murillo, an entrepreneur who is Co-founder and owner of Classic Insurance, CMC Construction, and Gala Music/Gala Music Foundation.
The co-pilot of my own personal food tour was Nicaraguan-native, Rafael Saddy, President of the Latin American Civic Association of Kenner and Cultural Diversity Coordinator for the City of Kenner.
The food of South Louisiana is some of the best food on the planet. Part of the secret of the seasoning is in its cultural diversity of ingredients and people. One fourth of the city of Kenner’s population identify as Hispanic.
The Hispanic population in Kenner hails from all over the America’s, including countries such as: Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, El Salvador, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Peru, Brazil and many other countries.
“I love the essence that my culture puts into the food. It’s very homey and there is a lot of love in it,” explains Murillo.
The first restaurant that I was taken was Sabores De Mi H. The H stands for Honduras. The owner is Armando Garay. The Baleada is a staple food in Honduras and Sabores De Mi H serves baleadas well, in a variety of ways. They also boast beautiful fried red fish with rice & beans, and sweet plantains or green plantains.
With my belly already satiated, we headed over to Las Carnitas 2, for some Peruvian delicacy.
After a burst of energetic flames in a skillet, Rafael Saddy explained, “the dish they are presenting to us is a Peruvian dish called lomo saltado. It is a beef loin with oriental seasoning.”
The seasoning and juices of the meat saturate the fried potatoes and rice to create the perfect sauce that it hard to explain. Like the United States, Peru is a beautiful blend of cultures. There is a sizable Asian influence that translates over to it’s food.
“We’ve been through Honduras, Peru, We have Salvadorian and now we have Mexican American Food next at El Paso in Kenner,” says Saddy.
I was completely full, but my spirit was willing to continue to journey.
The next restaurant we attended was El Paso, off of Esplanade, where the chefs prepared fajitas with a mixture of chicken, shrimp and steak. There were sides of guacamole, salsa and camaraderie.
At the end of the journey, we went to a favorite place of the community called Norma’s Sweets Bakery. There we stuffed ourselves with first-class Cuban sandwiches, tantalizing flan and the best Tres Leches pastel in the area.
“Good food brings everyone together like we all are right now, around the table,” says Morillo.
In the end, it was a love affair with food I never knew about.
To enjoy the food for yourself, Kenner hosts two wonderful festivals: Baleada Festival and Kenner Hispanic Festival, where thousands of people in the community show up for family-oriented fun, complete with music, soul and plenty of hispanic food.
Kenner recently recognized National Hispanic Heritage Month with an official city proclamation: