September 15th marks the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month. The month is a time to reflect on the influences of Hispanic culture and to celebrate. During this time, festivals are held throughout major cities that feature traditional dances and lots of food. These festivals bring out local vendors with food trucks featuring food from different Latin American countries.
As of July 1, 2016, Bulloch County’s population of Hispanics stands at a low of 3.37 percent. So why does the city of Statesboro have many Mexican restaurants? All claim to be the most authentic, but El Rinconcito has been voted Best Mexican restaurant by Best in the Boro for three years.
“We saw that our Hispanic costumers were looking to buy more things than food here, so we have decided to expand,” said Pablo Salazar, general manager of El Rinconcito. “Our food is made with recipes that some of our own workers have used for years, so I think it’s authentic. It’s what their grandmothers taught them.”
The restaurant plans to add more dishes and what is called, “antojitos.” Antojitos are what people like to call Mexican snacks. Snacks such as homemade sliced cucumers with lime and salsa. Fruits covered with chile powder are the most common type “antojitos.”
Statesboro gives you plenty of options when it comes to Mexican food, but it just depends on what kind you want. Antoni Dahl, a Georgia Southern student is an avid eater of Mexican food. “I bring my family to El Rinconcito every time they visit. El Sombrero does not compare, even though we have like three. We like the other restaurants, but I feel like those are just for drinking and to have a good social time,” he said.
A festival was held in Savannah, Georgia in the month of September to celebrate the Hispanic culture. Vendors knew what their audience wanted and they provided. “We have to prepare for this event with lots of salsa and chile powder, so we can satisfy everybody’s antojitos,” said Gerardo Carcamo, food truck vendor. “We have mango to watermelon, to bags of chips covered in salsa. You know us Latinos do love everything covered in salsa.
The festival begins at 12pm and carries on until everybody is done from dancing. All around you see lines wrapping around the food trucks and local vendors. Everybody is either dancing or eating. “Our food is huge part of our culture. I can’t imagine not eating like this. My favorite dish is carnitas, you can get them at many restaurants but never as good as how dad makes them at home, said “Jessenia Martinez. “I attend this festival every year, it makes me so proud to have everyone celebrate their culture.
Rebecca Aguilar is a Mexican-American journalist. She serves on the board of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. She works with upcoming journalist of Hispanic heritage on the daily. “It’s really important to celebrate our heritage and I hope the younger generations keep our traditions alive, she said.” “Our culture is rich with tradition, we have the best food and best people.”
During these kind of festivals, you can see the importance of Hispanic Culture. There is always plenty of food to try and you are guaranteed to find a new favorite dish. October 15th, marks the end of Hispanic Heritage month.