Courtesy of bestofnj.com
There is no shortage of Latin restaurants in America. Whether they are fast food, authentic or somewhere in between, you will not have to go far to find it. However, it is a fallacy to assume all food south-of-the-border is of the same style; every Central and South American country has its own unique culture and flavor, which is what makes Que Ricas’ Venezuelan cuisine stand out.
Que Ricas, located in Haddon Township, appears small and inconspicuous from the outside, but when you walk in, the vibrant light blue walls and bright yellow chairs grab your attention. The bright lights feed the dozen plants on shelves along the walls, placed between eye-catching colorful paintings. There are only a few tables inside, so it would not be the best place to go with any large groups, but it is perfect for a group of four, three or just one-on-one.
The food is not particularly cheap, but it makes up for it in authenticity
and freshness. There is a variety of doughy empanadas and other starters, using
popular starchy vegetables in Venezuelan cuisine like sweet plantains or yuca fries. The menu
offers a variety of “arepas,” a traditional bread of sorts, made from ground maize that can be fried, baked, boiled or prepared in many other ways. The arepa can be filled with a variety of meats, eggs or plant-based options (not to mention gluten-free).
“We use Harina pan, which is a special corn flour, for our arepas and empanadas. We wouldn’t use anything else,” said Sahar Soleymani, owner of Que Ricas.
Soleymani and her parents opened Que Ricas when they decided to take their favorite family recipes and passion for food to the public.
“ The restaurant business is in my blood. My family has been in the restaurant business
for 40 years, and although my parents tried to talk me out of it, because it’s such a demanding and risky business, they saw I had the passion and talent to be successful. What inspired me to open up Que Ricas was my mother. She was born in Venezuela and came to the U.S. as a student in the 1970s, where she met my father, and the rest was history. I grew up eating her delicious food, and I wanted to share these recipes with my community. Many people don’t know what Venezuelan food tastes like,” Soleymani said.
Soleymani hopes the business is successful enough to open more locations and expand the menu in the future, as well as open people’s minds.
There is something for everyone at Que Ricas; the ingredients and flavors offer a unique twist on a style of ethnic food, many people know and love. For anyone who wants Central American flavor, Que Ricas is a great place to go.
“I want people to walk in and feel welcome and cozy,” Soleymani said. “I hope they can feel the love in our food and get a taste of what Venezuelan food is like and love it as much as I do!”