The International Latino Food Festival is all about letting people taste the real deal regarding Latino cuisine.
“When humans think of Mexican food, they normally think of tacos,” said Alicia Prieto Langarica, chairwoman for the 8th annual meals pageant, which happened Saturday on the Organizacion Civica y Cultural Hispana Americana corridor on Shirley Road. “There is a lot more than most people don’t realize approximately.”
That’s why OCCHA hosts the ethnic food fest every 12 months, to permit human beings to experience proper Latin-American food organized and served with the aid of individuals of the local Latin-American community.
“These are stuff you’re possibly no longer going to discover on a menu in most Mexican restaurants,” Langarica stated.
For instance, she mentioned the Tinga de Pollo that become on Saturday’s menu. Tinga de Pollo is a favorite Mexican dish made with shredded bird and beef in a moderate sauce that is conventional inside the Mexican kingdom of Puebla.
Countries represented on this yr’s food alternatives had been Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, and Spain.
For $15, attendees could pick any two of seven available entrees, of the six aspect dishes, one of the 4 to be had salads, and a dessert, of which there have been several. There have also been vegetarian dishes available.
All proceeds from the occasion will cross in the direction of investment OCCHA programs and services, said Mary Lou Reyes, OCCHA govt director.
Langarica said all food becomes prepared on site, and Reyes stated it changed into all cooked and donated by dozens of volunteers.
“We do that every yr due to the fact we want to introduce the community to all of the worldwide Latino cuisines that are available,” Reyes stated, noting that at the same time as OCCHA is mostly geared toward supporting Latinos, the food pageant, in addition to all OCCHA services, is to be had to people of all ethnic backgrounds.
The event commenced at noon on Saturday. However, Reyes said people were status outside the door of the OCCHA corridor at the town’s South Side at 11 a.M.,
“It’s gotten more famous each yr,” she said. About four hundred humans attended the remaining yr’s festival, and organizers had been hoping for a more significant wide variety this 12 months. The meals pageant lasted till 6 p.M.
Frank Nolasco Jr., forty-one, of Youngstown, became amongst folks who loved a plate of Latino meals with his father, Frank Sr., seventy-four, born in Mexico and came to the USA along with his family while he becomes 1-year-antique.
“Our historical past is vital to us, so we attempt to wait and guide occasions like this that celebrate the Latin-American lifestyle,” Nolasco Jr. Stated. Then he brought with amusing, “Especially while there’s food worried.”
Nolasco Jr., who works as an educational adviser at Youngstown State University, stated his favorite dish became the tamales.
He said his father grew up within the Brier Hill community of Youngstown’s North Side and retired from Packard Electric in Warren.
Dina Sunderlin of Canfield became making her first go to the Latino Food Festival, but she said she attempts to go to as many ethnic fairs and occasions within the place as she will. She turned into demanding to get interior and sample the tasty dishes.
“I lived in Miami [Florida] for ten years, so I even have an excellent affection for the [Latin-American] lifestyle… And the meals,” she stated. “I’m certainly hoping they have some Cuban food because’s my favored.”
Rosa Santos, 63, and her 74-year-vintage pal Carlos Montalvo, each of Youngstown, said they’d attended the competition every 12 months. For them, it’s as a great deal about sharing their Latino history with the community as it’s far approximately celebrating their very own way of life.
Rosa stated she organized a Spanish Flan, a vanilla custard dessert, to be served at the competition, while Montalvo’s spouse, Mayra, held a dish of rice and beans.
“We all visit the identical health practitioner,” Rosa said of herself and the Montalvo. “She reminds us about this every year, and each yr we put together and donate something.”
Rosa’s daughter, Lydia Santos, danced to the Latino song simultaneously as she held her five-month-antique daughter, Alexandria.
“I simply desired to come out and assist OCCHA,” said Lydia, who’s a dean at the Horizon Science Academy in Youngstown.