Friday, November 25, 2011

Chilean empanadas at La Morenita


I love backstreet suburban shopping strips.  Like little rockpools, they foster small, unique shops.  On unremarkable, semi-industrial Berkshire Road in North Sunshine, La Morenita is definitely the pearl in the oyster.


The sign on the windows still points to the old occupants, but inside La Morenita remains a hub of the Chilean and wider South American community.  A range of Latin American grocery products are on offer, from yerba mate, a herbal infusion beloved in Uruguay, real paprika-rich chorizo sausages and other smallgoods, and bundles of thick dried seaweed or cochayuyo used to make very rustic Chilean dishes.


Stop in for a surprisingly decent coffee and a caramel-stuffed sweetie or loosen the belt for some homestyle Chilean sandwiches.  Order at the counter and then settle down while your meal is whipped up out the back.


Empanadas can be a light meal or entree.  Their edges lovingly folded up, they can be baked and filled with beef mince, olive and hardboiled egg or mildly-spiced chicken and tomato.  Alternately my favourite are their fried cousins, melty with cheese, the pastry golden, crisp and bubbly.

Chorizo and cheese empanada, $3

Hello sailor!  Gorgeous little morsels of rich, smoky chorizo sausage with golden stringy cheese in a crackly pastry shell.

Sandwich #9, $5 ($5!!!!)

This sandwich was unreal - great bread filled with wafer-thin, tasty steak, lightly-cooked emerald-green beans, gooey cheese, tomato, mayo and extra green chilli relish.  The mayo mixed with the meaty juice, soaking into the tender bun, while the chilli gave a tangy, delicious kick.


If you can bargain with your stomach to find some room, try the fabulous house-made sweets.  The alfajores are shortbread biscuits sandwiched together with deep brown caramel sauce then rolled in coconut.  Or try the ones filled with more caramel and spread all over with glossy white meringue.

Viva La Morenita!

La Morenita Latin Cuisine on Urbanspoon

67 Berkshire Road, North Sunshine
Phone:  9311 2911
Hours:  Tues-Wed 11am-5pm, Thurs-Fri 8am-5.30pm, Sat 8am-5pm, Sun 8am-3pm

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  1. Such a cool place - viva indeed! The new sandwiches are great - especially the one with the green beans and chilli!

  2. So after reason this, I ask my colleague what's an empanada. Reply was I don't know! Looks like will have to try it sometime, looks like a crispy wrap w Mexican ingredients.

  3. definitely going to head there this w/end :)

  4. I love Empanadas!!! Can't wait to check this out. And that sandwich ... amaaazing!!!

  5. I am going here for sure when I come to visit...

  6. I bought some of their fresh chorizo but haven't tried it yet, it's still sitting in the freezer hehehe.

    A heads up on the Philippine Fiesta tomorrow and Sunday at Melb show grounds! Lots of food to be eaten.

    I did a little post on it if you're interested to take a peek :)

  7. Hey there,

    Read your comments in the Age magazine today about Footscray. I've lived in Eleanor Street for about 12 years. I don't really recognise it as Footscray's drug epicentre. They always go for the most simplistic angle. Anyway, glad you added some positivity to the story.


  8. I dropped in last month and sampled the Churrasco Steak Sandwich with tomato, avocado & mayonnaise. Great bread (baked in house), very tasty filling & all for only $5.
    There is a certain appeal with these off the beaten track locations.

  9. $5 for a steak sandwich of that quality is very wtf material indeed! And that empanada seems fab, I've only ever had poor versions at bad events :( Good find!!

  10. $5?!?! Oh my! Not even near close to where I live, but really don't care - between the $5 sandwich and that amazing looking empanada, I do believe I road trip is in order!!

  11. Belated hello and big thanks for stopping by. Yes, La Morenita is definitely worth a road trip, esky in the bag for a big bag of chorizo! Bryan, I had no idea what an empanada was until recently too. Thank you Kenny for opening my eyes!

  12. Lauren, neither did I really! Although somehow I recognised that the pastries in the South American bakery right near Bennie's school were not your average pie shop pasties.

  13. Oh, I go weak in the knees for alfajores. Weak, I tell you! You're killing me at this hour when I should be sleeping, not dreaming of sweets :)


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