BY RAQUEL M. DREESEN
Dreaming of visiting South America? Depressing bank statements ripping those dreams at the seams? Then look no further than Kensington Market, where a little restaurant named Jumbo Empanadas can bring the tastes of South America to you.
When you first get to this neighbourhood hotspot, it won’t look like anything special (really though, what place in the Market does?). But once you get inside, you will instantly feel like you’ve been transported to Chile. Irene Morales and her daughter Lily Cisterna have not only provided the authentic Chilean taste, but they’ve created a Latin American atmosphere as well. The smell of freshly baked dough, the copper plaques and the Chilean TV channel make you feel you are in typical Santiago home.
At this point you may be asking, “What the heck is an empanada?’ Good question. An empanada is similar to a meat patty, but the dough is thicker. Typically, they’re filled with beef, chicken or vegetables, and spiced up with onions, a slice of a boiled egg and the surprise of a black olive.
If that answer doesn’t have you salivating yet, the restaurant also makes cheese empanadas, humitas (corn wrapped in corn husks and then baked) and corn pies, and flakey pastries filled with caramel. Or, try the Sopaipillas (so-pay-pee-ya), made of squash-dough and deep fried. You can trust this food-loving bandit to tell you that everything on that menu tastes good, so be adventurous!
The only thing possibly better than this menu are the prices. Items range from $1.75 to $8 (sopaipillas are only 75 cents!!). Don’t forget to add some of the spicy tomato salsa to your meal if you don’t mind a little heat.
After such a cheap and delicious meal, you’ll be ‘jejeje’-ing (Spanish laughing) all the way home.
245 Augusta Ave
Photo Credit: Raquel M. Dreesen