Monday, March 4, 2013

Brasas - Latin American Street Food

I was working quite late last night, work just seemed to pile up and my outbox just couldn't equalize with my inbox.  I was going nuts and right as I was about to completely lose it I get this picture on Whatsapp.

My girl was in Podium at Brasas, the Latin American restaurant I have been hearing about.  I am not one to look at food porn pics but I am a guy and the prospect of eating copious amounts of roast meat excites me.  This girl is a keeper!  I squint and scan at the menu picture and request the pork grilled wrap.  I am usually a beef eater but heck, change is good every so often.  

 This is the salad my girl ordered for herself while waiting.  Meat and vegetables for P150, quite impressive!

 And this is what the takeout looked like.  It was the grilled Beef Wrap and Pork Wrap.  The pork wrap had cheese (P30 add on).  The darker colored wraps are the beef.

Patacones! Plantains with pork and cheese

Sure they have rice meals too but I ordered a wrap simply because its supposed to be "street food" and I sort of can picture the wraps being carted around like Shawarma.  Matter of fact, why is it so similar?  The South American roast meat wrapped in a tortilla and the Middle Eastern roast meat wrapped in pita bread?  I was curious but no amount of Googling gave me a conclusive answer.  Naturally you will only find pork in the South American menu - no need to explain why I hope and tortilla being made with corn flour vs pita using wheat.

My guess is that the tortilla having originated from Spain which has historically has been intertwined to the Middle East through cultural cross pollination due to historical invasions - both ways, Spain then colonized South America bringing the practice of wrapping roast meat.  So again, my theory is Spain got the idea from Pita from the Middle East or perhaps other Mediterranean countries such as Greece and Turkey and then brought it to South America because the ties with the Middle East predate the era of colonization.  Well, anyway....

From the three dishes I tried I see what Brasas is all about, a deep, rich smoky flavor and this exuding juiciness to the meat and that is even with it being takeout and reheated - very impressive indeed.  The flavors of the wraps are strong, accentuated by peppers and something slightly sour, my guess is some lemon.  Admittedly the pork was nowhere as good as the beef wrap but I should have known that already. 

And even more similarities with Middle Eastern food are the sauces, chipotle for spice and hmmm, something orangey and mild which are like the spicy and not spicy yoghurt sauces.

I am rambling, in conclusion the food is truly excellent.  The Patacones were crunchy and we got five pieces for 140 pesos so with the two wraps the bill was P520 which isn't too bad because it is quite filling and we could have done with sharing one wrap.  The beef wrap is what to get, don't bother adding cheese, it doesn't need it and why get extra calories.  I'm going to go to Brasas myself and eat right there soon, its that good.

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