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Traditional Puerto Rican delicacies on wheels in Bayamón

At “El Pastel de Abu,” visitors can enjoy local urban cuisine at the Los Trailers gastronomic complex

April 2, 2024 - 11:00 PM

Visitors can taste numerous of dishes, such as these pastries. (XAVIER GARCIA)

Lee la nota en español aquí.

“I’ve always believed that the best cuisine in the world is ours: Puerto Rican cuisine.” Seized by this idea, Chef David Negrón Torres from Bayamón plotted his path, pursued academic training, showed off his skills famous hotel chain kitchens, and fulfilled his dream: establishing the culinary concept “El Pastel de Abu.”

It is a food truck that integrates the family gathering spot in Bayamón: Los Trailers.

After graduating from Escuela Hotelera de San Juan in 1989, the Bayamón native worked in restaurants of various hotel chains on the island, including La Concha, Marriotts, and Hiltons, until the pandemic hit. But as the confinement period came to an end, the executive chef found the perfect moment to launch the operation in August 2021.

“That idea was always on my mind; I always knew that I wanted to have my own business focusing on Puerto Rican cuisine, without undermining the merits of Spanish and Italian cuisine, which are very delicious. However, I’ve always believed that the best cuisine in the world is our Puerto Rican cuisine because of the diversity of our food. Despite being such a small country, you can have a pastel (stuffed masa) in Carolina and another in Corozal, and both are good, but they’re made differently,” he explained.

“El Paste de Abu” features a menu full of “local urban food,” which includes guanimes (stuffed cornmeal masa) with codfish, goat, or beef fricassee, grouper fritters with breadfruit tostones, and plantain tostones stuffed with ropa vieja (beef stew). The house specialty is their rice, dough, and yuca cakes topped with the protein of choice.

For groups, they offer “Surtidos de Abu” (“Abu’s Assortments”), a tray that includes meat and cheese pastelillos (turnovers), corned beef pastelillos, alcapurrias (Puerto Rican fritters), and stuffed breadfruit balls; and the larger assortment, served in a pizza box with fried pork, chicken cracklings, tostones, amarillo turnovers (sweet plantain turnovers), and alcapurrias.

They offer their famous lunch specials from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Wednesdays to Fridays. The menu selection of the five dishes changes daily, and the information is updated on their Facebook and Instagram profiles.

“We already have mamposteao with skirt steak, with the gazpacho arepa stuffed with codfish and grilled skirt steak. We’re also going to have a golden breaded steak with Bayamón crackling, which we’ll serve with a criollo sauce,” the merchant revealed. In fact, many of the creations are inspired by the municipality where he developed his talents.

The food truck also offers local and international beers, cocktails, and the house’s signature drink: the Mojito de Abu (“Abu’s Mojito”), a refreshing beverage made with Baileys. They also have flavored mojitos such as piña colada, breadfruit, passion fruit, coconut, acerola, strawberry, and of course, the original.

Negrón Torres is responsible for incorporating new styles into his creations while also preserving the secret ingredient that grandmothers infuse into their dishes: love.

The name El Pastel de Abu is inspired by his grandmother Margarita Martínez, who passed away a year before the establishment opened, and whom he fondly remembers for making one of the best cakes.

“There’s always fears about leaving stable jobs, wondering if the venture will succeed or sell well. Sometimes, one might think that having a secure income is better than taking the leap into the unknown. But, ultimately, fear is only the first thing you feel, although at this point, it has already dissipated,” concluded the chef, emphasizing his plans to open two additional food trucks.

“El Pastel de Abu” is one of the culinary offerings at the Los Trailers gastronomic complex, located on Barbosa Street in Bayamón’s historic district. The restaurant is open Wednesday to Friday, from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.; Saturdays, from 1:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.; and Sundays, from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. For more information, call 787-387-9708 or contact them through their social media pages.

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