Update: no longer in operation.
Puerto Rican native Wilfredo Manzano aims to bring a healthier version of Latin foods to the streets of Philadelphia with his lime green Latin Farmer food truck. We found him parked at Headhouse Square Farmers' Market on a recent Sunday, but he also pulls up to Love Park, Norris Square Farmer's Market, and Temple. Like most mobile eateries, it's best to follow their whereabouts on Twitter.
Using local foods when possible, Latin Farmer's menu is comprised of empanadas, bocadillos, collard wraps, hummus, and usually at least one dessert and special drink. Any truck in Philly that sells empanadas seems to sell out fast, and the same is true for Latin Farmer.
As a vegetarian, I would like to see one of the two empanadas, and one of the two bocadillos offered be vegetarian, but with such a short menu, I guess we're lucky that Latin Farmer offers a vegan collard wrap and hummus. And, that vegan collard wrap is excellent! Supple collard leaves envelope mofungo, a traditional Puerto Rican dish of mashed plantains and garlic, for a unique and healthy lunch. The sweet sugarcane stewed onions, and lively tomato chimichurri and citrus mojo really add a pleasant punch of flavor, elevating the plantain mash to a remarkable meal. Had I known a dollop of hummus and baked plantain chips came with the collard wrap, I would not have ordered . . .a side of hummus and plantain chips. While the side of hummus and plantain chips that comes with the collard wrap is just enough to satisfy the need for a little something extra with lunch, the side that you can order separately is probably best shared with another person.
Latin Farmer's hummus flavors change, and this day they had lima bean and saffron hummus hinting at a little spice and garlic, but, for my taste, was a tad too salty. It's nice to see healthier baked plantains, instead of greasy fried plantains.While I couldn't order a vegetarian savory empanada from Latin Farmer, I did get a pastelillo, which is essentially a sweet empanada. The tamarind and cream cheese pastelillo with orange-coriander crema and dulce de leche had so many flavors in the description, but all I could distinguish was cream cheese and dulce del leche. The pastry was perfectly crisped, but the overflowing pocket of cream cheese was just too much — another texture than goo filling the pastelillo would have been nice. The dulce de leche, while delicious, was flawed with gritty grains of sugar running throughout the sauce.
That mofungo collard wrap is quite marvelous, and I'd be eager to try a different version of their pastelillo the next time Latin Farmer rolls to a stop with their healthy Latin eats.
The Latin Farmer