AUTHENTIC Latin American cuisines and ingredients can be hard to come by in Melbourne. Casa Iberica Deli is one establishment that all Latin American students should know about if they want to recreate the tastes of home. Diana Ponce has more.
Being away from home can be hard sometimes. You miss your family, your friends, your favourite places, but sometimes its the food you’ll end up missing most.
For Asian international students, they fortunately don’t have this problem given all the Asian restaurants and grocery stores that you can find throughout Melbourne. However, for Latin American students their situation is different.
Traditional Latin American dishes and their ingredients are hard to come by in Melbourne. While Mexican cuisines do exist in the city, other cuisines from countries within the Latin America makeup are scarce. And those that do exist aren’t particularly money-friendly towards students living on a budget.
If this sounds like you, don’t give up — there are ways you can still enjoy the delicious traditional dishes of your home country on a low budget but it may require a bit of extra time and effort to do so.
Casa Iberica Deli is a great grocery for those looking to create their own Spanish, Latin American and Portuguese cuisines.
Located in Fitzroy, it serves as your one stop shop for all the ingredients you need for your favourite recipes. From grains, flours and frozen snacks like patacones (small pieces of green plantain), yuca (yucca) and plátano maduro (ripe plantain), this Fitzroy establishment is a haven for Latin American students wishing to recreate the tastes of their home.
The deli has it all — if you want to cook up a traditional Colombian arepas, why not buy the original P.A.N yellow corn meal from here? That way you can prepare them from scratch from your own home and complete the dish with all kinds of different cheeses and chorizos which you can also find at Casa Iberica Deli.
As for other traditional dishes from the Andean Regions of Peru, Ecuador and Colombia, you can find Papa criolla (whole yellow potatoes) here as well which is the main ingredient for numerous traditional dishes like tortillas de papa (potato tortillas).
For students short on time, Casa Iberica Deli also has a variety of stuffed empanadas that are ready to eat for students who want to eat something on the spot.
If you’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth, the store also offers Colombian lollipops and cookies from the well-known brand Colombina. And if you’re Argentinian, you will be particularly happy to know that finding alfajores in Melbourne is not impossible! Although the importation is restricted, Casa Iberica Deli has found a way to produce them locally.
So if you’re missing the taste of home, check in with your parents and ask them for your favourite recipes or run a search on them before visiting Casa Iberica Deli to track down all those ingredients.
Casa Iberica Deli is located at 25 Johnston St, Fitzroy. For more information about the grocery/deli, visit its official website.