Borinquen Soul

By Kim Fortson

You’ll spot the Borinquen Soul food truck a mile away, but it’s not just the red and white stripes of the Puerto Rican flag—emblazoned festively across the vehicle—or the impressive crowd that will catch your attention. It’s the whiff of pollo encebollado and sweet or garlic platanos and the beat of salsa music that will seduce nearly all of your senses. Taste joins the party with a bite of beef empanadilla or arroz con gandules, authentic Puerto Rican dishes drizzled with a secret garlic sauce to knock your socks off. Co-owners Chris Caraballo and Eric Rivera complete the experience; Clad in aprons sporting the flag to match the truck, the native New Yorkers (both Puerto Rican) serve the dishes they grew up on, right down to the Coco Rico and Malta India sodas. It’s mama’s home cookin’ at its best. You can’t miss it.

the crowd

East Coasters and Puerto Ricans longing for a taste of home line up right alongside foodies looking to try the next big thing and suits spicing up their lunch break.

... on the side

late night snack
If wings battered with flour, lathered in spices, and deep-fried to perfection sing to a deep place in your soul, hunt down Borinquen Soul after midnight. It’s the only time the team doles out these savory snacks, and there’s no better way to end a night on the town.

corporate culture
“When Chris’s mom comes into town, that’s like corporate,” Rivera said. The two source nearly all of their recipes from their mothers, guaranteeing delicious authenticity.

on the stereo
Salsa or Puerto Rican mix tapes specially crafted by Rivera’s cousin, DJ King Shameek. Speakers strategically positioned underneath the truck ensure decibels worthy of a dance party.

Loud—enough to make you want to dance in broad daylight.

price range

$3 (beef turnover/empanadilla a la carte) to $12 (Combo #4: pastele, Puerto Rican rice, sweet plantains)