Ariel Barbouth on Empanadas and Nuchas:
"The question of where empanadas come from is bound to generate debate! Some people trace their origin back to the ancient Middle East. We were inspired by the Argentine version of the empanada, which arrived in South America via Spain. To me, the empanada is the quintessential hand-held food: a great delivery vehicle for amazing dish.
My wife and I opened the first location of Nuchas in 2011. Empanadas are something as ubiquitous as a pizza where we come from, and we did not understand why it was not so in the U.S. We figured New York was the best place to start changing that.
When we first started, we had nine empanada flavors, all essentially Argentine. After a few months, we did a 180 and started from scratch. We worked with Argentine Chef, German Lucarelli, who had been in the U.S. for a decade, and had a strong understanding of the flavor profiles and point of view we needed to really reach New Yorkers. We added more spices and more depth of flavor."
"Back in Buenos Aires, empanadas are what people order for parties at home. They can be a full meal or an appetizer. My favorite two places in Buenos Aires are La Cocina and La Tucumanita, in Barrio Norte, two blocks away from where I used to live.
I love meeting our customers, though I must admit I am not doing it as much as I used to.
It was particularly moving to be able to bring empanadas to the thousands of people affected by Hurricane Sandy. Hearing their stories, and giving them a warm meal made our food truck into much more than I had ever hoped for."
Broadway & 43th Street
New York, NY 10036
Photos by Andrzej Bialuski.