Salsa Venezuelan Street Food
Salsa Venezuelan Street Food brings the art of sauce-slathered hot dogs and triple-patty burgers from the markets of Caracas to Toronto.
As its name suggests, this family-run operation specializes in the kind of thing that's sorely missing in this city's after-party scene: street food, namely, the messy kind found in Venezeula.
When it comes to Venezuelan cuisine, the most commonly touted dish is usually the arepa: a deep fried, corn flour creation stuffed with an assortment of fillings.
But according to owner Julio Rodriguez, arepas only scratch the surface of Venezuela's offerings, especially when it comes to the array of cheesy and deep fried bites that are essentially just vehicles for sauce.
That being said, plain mini arepas are available in orders of 5 for $5.50, with a side of nata cream.
For example, no party in Venezuela is complete without some tequenos ($11): an order of six breaded sticks filled with Spanish cheese.
It comes with a viscous garlic sauce that is basically the star of the entire show here, along with the handful of other sauces (hence the name, Salsa). Seriously, everything here is doused in sauce.
A housemade corn sauce, or even better, the pineapple sauce, goes perfectly with the tequenos, or atop one of the hot dogs ($4): an epic handheld-sized thing with coleslaw, grated cheddar cheese, mustard, garlic sauce, and a surprise ingredient: Hostess hickory sticks.
A pepito is basically a foot-long baguette which comes in a variety of meat options on top. At first glance, it basically just looks like a bigger version of the hot dog.
The choripan pepito ($13) is a hulking beast with sausage, grated cheese, those hickory sticks, and the full slew of sauces. The only way you can realistically eat this is by cutting it into pieces.
My favourite dish here is the bollito parrilla ($15). A parilla, which is an iron grill BBQ that actually originates in Argentina, is all about the grilled meats, and this beautiful mess has pieces of grilled steak, chicken, and sausage.
A surprise ingredient in there for me is a boiled corn flour, or the bollitos, which sop up all the juices perfectly.
The most epic thing here is hands-down the triple patty burger ($13).
You can choose from three different types of meat: beef, grilled chicken, or peameal bacon—you can get all three in one go, if you want. Add $3 and you can get a slice of gooey grilled cheese in the middle of all of it, for the full food coma effect.
Every burger will come with a fried egg, plus the rest of the works mentioned above.
Thankfully the selection of drinks here are the fun, fizzy types which should help to awaken you from your sauce-induced slumber. Opt for passion fruit juice ($2.50).
There's also a fresh sugar cane and lime drink ($2.50), made in-house, or take advantage of their rare stock of Maltin or Frescolita, a Venezuelan cream soda.