DENVER — For the past three years, husband and wife team Luis Mino and Anel Peña have been serving up authentic Argentinian food in the Denver metro area.
Their business is called La Rumba Choripan, which started in 2018 when the couple rented out a small stall on a patio outside of La Rumba, a dance hall in Denver’s Golden Triangle neighborhood. “It was just a small table right in front of the door,” Peña recalled.
But the food was a hit, and the duo was able to expand their business to a food truck (they claim to be the only Argentinian food truck in the state).
La Rumba Choripan
The owners of La Rumba Choripan claim to be the only Argentinian food truck in the state.
The name “La Rumba Choripan” is clearly an homage to their original location, but the second half of the name—choripan—is one of their signature dishes. The ingredients for a choripan are included in the dish’s name: “chori” for chorizo, and “pan,” meaning bread. The popular street food became famous in Argentina and neighboring South American countries and dates back decades.
Like many small businesses, particularly those in the food industry, the pandemic has been a challenge for Peña and Mino. “We have to sanitize everything,” Peña said. “We’re trying to stay safe, and we’re trying to keep our customers safe as well.”
At the beginning of the pandemic, “the business went down a little bit,” Peña said. However, once brick-and-mortar restaurants were forced to shut down, customers turned to food trucks like La Rumba Choripan where they could get restaurant-quality food without having to enter a closed space. In a way, the shutdowns helped Peña and Mino.
“We had so many people trying to buy food [to] have food stored at home,” Peña recalled. “So people started calling just for empanadas.”
And for those unfamiliar with or skeptical about Argentinian food, Peña has a story for you: “I remember one customer. I offered him empanadas, and I explained the background of the whole Argentinian food, and he was like, ‘I’m going to give it a try. Just give me one.’ He had, like, 10.”
Peña and Mino will often experiment with the menu and change recipes after doing research, but some things date back generations and won’t ever change. The salsa they use for the tacos, for example, is a recipe from Peña’s mother.
“Now, they’re his too,” she said, pointing at Mino.
To find out if La Rumba Choripan food truck is heading to your neighborhood, check out their Instagram page.