Not saying I was obsessed with The Cheese Truck or anything, but this month’s retailers of Trinity Kitchen had a whole lot to live up to.
Thank goodness my first dip in June’s street food pool took place at Hay Latin America.
Hay (pronounced AYE! – with as much Mexican emphasis as you can muster) is the brainchild of Fred Parkes – a man who decided the lovely town of Huddersfield needed a little South American flavour after falling in love with the cuisine during his personal travels.
With fellow foodies in tow, we rocked up to the van (named Valdes) last week to sample some of Fred’s favourite dishes. Kicking things off with a glass of Torrontés (the most drinkable white Argentinian vino in the land), we were quickly welcomed with a few small plates of ‘pollo a la brasa’ and sweet potato empanadas while Fred talked us through Hay’s history. The empanadas – heavily packed with spiced shredded chicken and herbs – were as good as any I’ve had in the Midwest.
(It doesn’t sound like it makes sense, I’m aware, but the Midwest is where all my South American friends live.)
According to Fred, even those of the Yorkshire-based South American community have been known to rave over his international version.
Next up? The best quinoa salad I’ve had in quite some time. Though I tend to opt for quinoa over rice, I do it strictly for the superfood benefits. Quinoa is not exciting. That is, unless you’re eating it in a bowl from Hay Latin America.
Topping his organic quinoa with Peruvian-style marinated chicken, mint, red onion, cherry tomatoes, and guasacaca (which can be swapped out completely for chicken if you’re a vegetarian), this ‘main’ was a flavourful, healthful delight.
Finally, the alfajores. Though they have a range of desserts (including sweet empanadas), I had heard buzz of Hay’s moreish alfajores for days in advance so decided to focus my sweet efforts completely on the light ‘shortbreads’.
Doing a big one for The North by mixing a custard and Yorkshire rhubarb alfajore up, I expected it to be my favourite until I took a bite of the salted ‘dulce de leche’-filled chocolate shortbread. Both versions melted in the mouth (and could easily be credited as a reward after such a healthy lunch).
10 out of 10, Hay.