Authentic as can be and killin' the Latin American food game since 2009, Las Chamas has been gracing Harrisonburg with a wide variety of Caribbean dishes pleasing to any diet and affordable for any budget. Caribbean cuisine is a mixture of ingredients from countries such as Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Colombia, and Cuba that pair so beautifully together, embodying all things Harrisonburg represents: a fusion of cultures.
Grab your $10 and a willingness to embrace your adventurous foodie spirit. You may walk in to the sound of Spanish divorce court on the television, but don't hesitate to sit down next to the cut out of Mr. Dos Equis. He is the most interesting man in the world, so be honored to chow down in his presence.Here's a breakdown of everything you'll need to know for your trip to Las Chamas.
1. The Menu
Whether you understand English, Spanish, or both, their menu has information on all things Latin American food. The front page welcomes you with a geography lesson and a desire to flip the page and find out what that good looking flatbread coated with fried egg is.
Each section pertains to a certain type of Hispanic-styled wrap, and the components of each wrap differs based on which you choose. For example, arepas are made with corn meal while chachapas are made from yuca or wheat dough. They have anything for anyone—vegetarian, carnivore, study abroad student craving that chorizo they had in Spain.
2. The Food
Mmmmm, yes. Now what we all want to know: What should I order? If you're a one and done type of foodie, then consider ordering either La Machacha Chabuarma or a Chachapa. Grand in size, and filled with flavor, the crunchy wrap of La Machacha Chabuarma, pictured above, is perfectly complemented by the initial emergence of fluffy rice, chicken, and a mix of vegetables. The Chachapa has more a crepe like texture to it, made from cornmeal, and stuffed with chicken, beef, or queso.
The Empanadas and the Arepas are smaller options. The Empanadas ring in at $2 each, so order yourself more than one of these stuffed corn dough turnovers filled with anything from cheese to chicken to carne. Arepas are the most traditional Venezuelan option on the menu, so if you're looking for authenticity, then this is for your answer.
Do we see a trend here? Clearly Latin American food does it right because any form of warm carbs with cheese is so melt-in-your-mouth good. If you're not a fan of the whole stuffed dough trend, though, consider the Pabellon Criollo, a Las Chamas fan favorite platter.
Looking for a side dish? Look no further than the Yuca Frita. A warm basket will arrive at your table in a matter of minutes after you order. Each bite has its own distinct taste so rich with fried goodness that you may be questioning the value of a French fry in comparison with this Latin American goodness.
3. The Sauce
Sometimes the sauce is the icing on the cake, or in this case on the dough. Beware: the red sauce is hot, so for those of you who tear up at a hint of heat, stay away. The cilantro-based sauce must be used, while the other white sauce complements the herbal taste of the cilantro perfectly.
4. The Drank
Obviously they have cerveza, but the real stars are the Batidos. These are smoothie-like drinks that blend fruits fresher than you such as pineapples, tangerines, or passion fruit.
Diverse in food, drank, and crowd, Las Chamas should be at the top of your list next time you're considering an off campus or out of apartment meal. If you're still feeling indecisive, check out the Spotluck app that'll pick a place for you and give you a discount.