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Dishes from a Honduran food truck along a table with checked blue tablecloth.
Dishes from La Troca Catracha in LA’s Koreatown.

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This LA Food Truck Serves Honduran Baleadas That Are Better Than Breakfast Burritos

La Troca Catracha is LA’s only Honduran food truck, operated by two seasoned restaurant cooks

In his decades-long career as a line cook at well-regarded LA restaurants, with many of those years spent in chef Suzanne Tracht’s midcentury modern steakhouse Jar, Armando Pérez prepared countless family meals for the staff. During his tenure at Jar, perhaps none were more beloved than Glenda’s Chicken — a roasted, blistered chicken dish covered with tamarind sauce designed by his wife, Glenda Rivera. “Armando did prepare family meals, but his wife’s [meals] were even better,” says Suzanne Tracht, chef and owner of the film-famous chophouse in Beverly Grove. The quality of Rivera’s recipes, coupled with Pérez’s cooking experience, inspired the couple in 2019 to open LA’s only Honduran food truck, La Troca Catracha, serving six days a week at a busy Koreatown intersection.

Raised in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Rivera came to the U.S. in 2016 and began cooking at Salvadoran restaurant La Tecleña just west of Downtown LA, where she met Pérez, who was a customer at the time. They began dating at the end of 2016, and within a few years, she had her sights set on opening a truck to showcase her food for homesick Hondurans. To help prepare, she joined Pérez at Jar, putting in hours prepping food and learning more about the business from an established fine dining restaurant.

Front of La Troca Catracha.
Front of La Troca Catracha.

Central Americans comprise the second largest population in Los Angeles after Mexicans, but the community and its cuisines are vastly underrepresented by the media. Most Central-American food trucks congregate near their communities. There’s a Guatemalan antojitos truck near MacArthur Park, and a few Salvadoran trucks in the Corredor Salvadoreño in southern Koreatown. Notable exceptions that have gained mainstream coverage are Vcho’s, a Salvadoran truck, and El Fogon Chapín, a Guatemalan truck. La Troca Catracha hopes to join their ranks.

Named after a colloquial term for Hondurans, the truck serves breakfast and lunch in Koreatown. The most popular dish, baleadas, are thick flour tortillas served with refried red beans, salty dried cheese, and mantequilla rala (Honduran cream). Baleadas can also be served with layers of fluffy scrambled eggs, avocado slices, and sometimes carne asada. In a city full of breakfast burritos, baleadas offer a nice variant that fold like tacos but are as substantial as burritos, highlighted by a squeeze of luscious, salty cream. A sprinkle of vinegary D’Oloancho hot sauce made with barrel-aged Honduran chiles tabascos adds a spicy, tangy finish.

Baleada with carne asada, mantequilla rala, and avocadoes.
Baleada with carne asada, mantequilla rala, and avocadoes.
Pastelitos de carne molida con arroz.
Pastelitos de carne molida con arroz.

Rivera’s recipes include the iconic pollo con tajadas (also known as pollo schuco), a golden brown fried chicken dish served with fried green banana slices. Dressed with thinly shredded cabbage, beet-stained encurtido (sweet and spicy pickled onions), chimol (a fresh salsa of chopped tomatoes, onions, sweet peppers, and culantro, cooked with lime), and finished with drizzles of ketchup, mayo, and mustard. Pork chops, carne asada, and seasoned ground beef, all with tajadas (green bananas), are given the same construction of sweet, spicy, and pickled salads. These dishes helped establish the truck in late 2019, but then the pandemic struck just six months after opening.

Jar closed its dining room as part of the mandatory shutdowns in March 2020, but food trucks could still operate, so by April 2020 Pérez and Rivera focused on La Troca Catracha full-time. “For us, the pandemic was my blessing in disguise,” says Rivera. “We have a lot of Mexicans, other Central Americans, Koreans who love our food. And of course Hondurans.”

Since they needed a quick, easy lunch dish on the go, Rivera’s Zambos preparados became a hit. “Our schools don’t have cafeterias like over here, so many of them had food stands from outside that needed to make affordable school lunches,” says Rivera. Like a Honduran version of Frito pie, the dish is made with a bag of Zambos plantain chips (in particular the spicy chile limón flavor) filled with seasoned ground beef, chimol, encurtido, shredded cabbage, house dressing, and D’Olancho. The nostalgic, childhood snack, best when paired with a bottle of extra-sweet Tropical banana or grape soda, could make a grown Honduran cry.

Over the past three years, the truck has thrived thanks to Pérez’s experience and Rivera’s ingenious recipes. With the support of Rivera’s daughter, Nikol, the couple added Saturday breakfast and lunch service in January of 2023. Eventually, Rivera hopes to open LA’s first-ever dedicated Honduran market and bakery to add to LA’s rich Central American food culture. “When I came here from San Pedro Sula, I still had children to raise and couldn’t study for my business. But I never gave up on being an owner, so here we are” says Rivera.

La Troca Catracha is located at 3540 Wilshire Blvd (near the southeast corner of S Ardmore Ave.), Koreatown, (323) 740-2228, Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Zambos preparados.
Zambos preparados.
Pollo con tajadas.
Pollo con tajadas.
The menu at La Troca Catracha.
The menu at La Troca Catracha.
Nikol, Armando Pérez, and Glenda Rivera of La Troca Catracha.
Nikol, Armando Pérez, and Glenda Rivera of La Troca Catracha.
Flag draped across a Honduran food truck in LA.
La Troca Catracha in Koreatown.

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