El Coquí PDX | Puerto Rican food truck in Portland, OR | “De una isla super chiquita”

I'm gonna tell you a little bit of my personal history (Interviewer) go ahead

(Tony) I'm I'm the youngest of three, and I was born with speech problems

I couldn't speak well until I was six years old And, I also had have

epilepsy And everyone in life has put up barriers for me My mom told me I couldn't speak

and now I'm bilingual In fact, trilingual, because I talk in English, talk in Spanish, and talk shit "From a super small island" (Interviewer) Your name? (Tony) Anthony Andrew Banegas Barcelo Jimenez Mojica

I am the owner of a Puerto Rican food truck, here in Portland, Oregon Number 1 in Boricua food in Portland I'm the only one

And it's my dream My dream and I've had a passion for food since I was a kid I feel good, I feel very happy It hasn't been easy, because not many people know what a Puerto Rican is in this city of Oregon, Portland, because we're so far away from the island we're not very well known It's not like if we were in Miami or New York, where everyone knows what a Boricua is, everyone knows what a plantain, and a mofongo is It's been kind of an uphill battle but I feel proud and happy to be able to represent my island My favorite plate to cook is mofongo (Interviewer) Yeah? (Tony) Because when one is mashing, you get the smell, and it brings back childhood memories, and of being in Puerto Rico a lot of garlic, the plantain And it's the most typical, when you miss the island, that's what you wanna eat

This is gold for Puerto Ricans You don't get this easily here (Interviewer) What has surprised you the most here? (Tony) The amount of Boricuas, the amount of Puerto Ricans that come, from all over Oregon, they even come from Washington (Interviewer) they come over to (Tony) to eat There's people that come all the way from Seattle to eat, or from Salem, from Eugene, from Corvallis

And I'm shocked that people appreciate and love what I do so much I work too much I don't stop

but, I'm happy I'm doing what I love I'm far away from the island but at the same time I feel very close, because of the food, and because of the clients that come to visit, and even in a moment like when the Hurricane (Maria) happened, they would come over

and we would talk "Hey, did you get in touch with your family?" – "No, not yet" I hadn't heard from my family, but a friend heard from his family, and they lived pretty close by, and he sent his family to go check on my family, and we communicated that way, and they'd say "look, you can go to this place and you'll get some signal and that way you can call" I didn't hear anything from my family for almost a month, and at least that emotional support we had it, and we could help each other You know, we represent in so much

Puerto Rico has things in movies, music, sports Now we're even in the government, you know? And little by little we're representing and Puerto Rico (Interviewer) Alexandria

Yeah Puerto Rico leaves its mark And that's where the name "El Coquí" comes from The coqui is a frog, a really really small frog, but it sings super loud Puerto Rico is a super small island, but it makes its presence felt

all over the world

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