128 Mitchell St
(03) 9318 5289
Mum is now in town and she is going to be hanging around for a month. I have to thank her for my obsession with eating. My mum is a poor cook but she loves to eat. I remember when I was younger, there are always food outings. Breakfast first and then after a couple of hours, lunch and then tea and it just goes on and on. She always encourage me to try different food and cuisine. She prefers the more ‘exotic’ type food whereas my dad loves his hawker food. I had the best of both worlds.
There as excitement when I first read about Los Latinos on Lauren’s blog (Footscray Food Blog). I could not make it with Billy and Anna and so decided to head down myself after mum forgot to put the bak kut teh pot on the stove. She was still in Singapore time zone…. duhhhh! It was a great excuse to eat out anyway. Maidstone is not too far from our place and seriously this is such a good find! There is hardly anything else in this strip except for a suspicious looking take away a couple of doors down. The setting is simple and it is run by a Latino family. I have little experience with Latino food and even the culture so this will be interesting. Plus, it will be great to get different sort of feedback from mum!
The menu is quite small so we ordered the dishes to share. I have read and heard a lot about Tamale but had little knowledge of it. The tamale at Los Latinos is made from masa lista (a brand of corn flour). It is filled with pork and black olives and then wrapped and steamed in banana leaves. Initially mum thought it was otak! It was served with a hot sauce and a fermented salad of cabbage and carrots called curtido. My initial reaction was … mehh and then the more I ate, the more like it. The tamale sliced through like a piece of soft cake. I like and will attempt to make this at home.
Mister ordered the Completos (Latino hot dog). It came topped with green cabbage, chirrimol, guacamole and zig zagged with tomato sauce and mayonnaise. He really liked this a lot. Sausage of unknown meat is usually tasty right?
Just to note that all tortillas here are home made and not store bought. The chicken tacos were served in a soft shell tortillas. Add a good drizzle of hot sauce or smokey tomatoes sauce and eat. I thought the chicken pieces were slightly dry and this was my least favourite of the night. Mum thought that the taco could be rolled thinner. It is slightly doughy. Mum did like this dish.
Another of my favourite of the night was the pupusas. This is another dish made from masa lista (corn flour). The tortilla is made from scratch and thicker than a tacos. It is stuffed with cheese, beans and grounded pork. It was again served with curtido and a diluted tomato salsa. To eat it correctly, you have to prepare your plate first. Get some curtido and then drizzle it with the tomato salsa. The best way to eat this is my hand. Just tear a small chunk of pupusa with your hands and grab some curtido and eat. My mum said that this is just like eating Malay food! Use hands and then lick fingers. She thought the dough was too thick but it is suppose to be thick.
The only dessert that was available was the quesadilla cake. It is a El Salvador dessert that is made from cheese and topped with toasted sesame seeds. I am hooked! It is not super cheesy but just a hint of it. I want to bake this cake!
I have no benchmark to compare this place with. I do like the honesty in the food. This place is family run and the husband is really friendly and happy to answer cooking questions. I did corner him at one point and threw questions at him. I hope I did not scare him off! Now I am armed with a little knowledge of Latin American cuisine. I will definitely be attempting some of these dishes at home. But I will continue to head back for more food. Apparently, there is more variety of dishes available on weekends and ice cream cake (thanks to Anna & Billy for the tip)! Return I shall!
What should I attempt first – Tamale or Quesadilla cake?