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Phoenix Coqui: Authentic food truck honors Puerto Rican culture from Melrose District

Try it at the 14th Annual Puerto Rican Festival
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Posted at 12:00 PM, Sep 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-19 01:59:10-04

If you've cruised around the Melrose District, which is the neighborhood on 7th Avenue between Indian School and Camelback Road, it's likely that you've seen a tiny black trailer.

Inside the trailer are the large and vast flavors representing an entire island and culture.

Phoenix Coqui is Arizona's first Puerto Rican food truck, bringing the tastes of the Island of Enchantment to Arizonans.

Alexis Carbajal and his partner Juan Alberto Ayala started the food truck back in 2017 when they saw a need for the Caribbean cuisine in the Valley.

"We came from Puerto Rico in 2014 and at that point, we couldn't find any true authentic flavors representing Puerto Rico, so we decided we would do it on our own," Carbajal said.

Since then, locals have been lining up. Three hundred people showed up for their grand opening.

Some items on the menu include mofongo, alcapurrias, and tostones, which are variations of fried or mashed plantains. The most popular item is the slow-cooked pulled pork with rice and pigeon peas, otherwise known as the "Pernil Plate."

No matter the palate preference, Phoenix Coqui is ready to serve anyone willing to give it a try, but for the men working inside the food truck, hearing the compliments from fellow Puerto Ricans, or Boricuas, makes it all worth it.

"We're an oasis in the desert because for a lot of people we're kind of that base for home and it feels great to build that community here and feel that we've started something that's going to leave a legacy."

While Phoenix Coqui is normally within the Melrose District on the weekends, but this Sunday, the food truck will be at the 14th Annual Puerto Rican Festival, located at the Stratas Event Center on 43rd Avenue and Indian School Road. They'll be featuring Puerto Rican musicians along with the island cuisine.

Doors open at noon on Sunday. For more information on the festival and how to get tickets, click here.

To learn more about Phoenix Coqui, click here.