Twenty years ago, Bandera started the trend of dividing its aisles by Latin American nationality.
When Maricel was growing up in eastern Cuba, her family would pound white or yellow yams to make fufu, an African staple that traveled to the New World.
Produce at Food Bazaar
From right to left, jicama, spiky chayote, nopal paddles, peppers, and tomatillos. Only a tiny bit of Food Bazaar's produce section.
Cows' feet are a crucial ingredient of many Latin American soup, including tripe soup. You can buy both the feet and the tripe at both Bandera and Food Bazaar.
Ever since the Conquistadors brought pigs to the New World, lard has been a crucial part of Latin American cuisine. The fat is essential to great bean dishes, adding a rich unctuousness.
Peruvian Dried Corn
"Choclo" is the Peruvian word for corn, grown there with distinctive large kernels. It's used as an ingredient in everything from ceviches to sweet puddings.
Pacaya is the flower of a species of palm tree grown in Guatemala. Maricel Presilla uses it in salads, adding a slightly bitter flavor, but you can also dip it in batter and fry it as fritters.
During the long power outage after Sandy, Maricel used votive candles to light her home and her businesses. They last for days!
Running from Union City up to North Bergen, Bergenline Avenue is the main stem of Hudson County's Latino population. It's lined with restaurants, bakeries, and groceries featuring the foods of Colombia, Mexico, El Salvador, Peru, Ecuador, and on and on.