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Chilangos restaurant providing Belleville with culture through traditional cuisine

By Matthew Morgan [12]

BELLEVILLE – Chilangos [13]in downtown Belleville is hosting a taco-eating contest Wednesday night to mark National Taco Day.

It’s an opportunity for the Mexican-born brother and sister who own the restaurant to thank the community for its support since the restaurant opened just over a year and a half ago.

Marlem Power and Abraham Ramos say they enjoy sharing their culture through offering the public their authentic Mexican cuisine.

Marlem Power is talking about the journey on how she became a co-owner of Chilangos. Photo by Matthew Morgan, QNetNews

“We wanted to engage with our community and celebrate with them,” said Power, the older of the two siblings, about the taco-eating contest.

“We are trying to share part of our ethnicity and our culture and people are engaging with us because many people recognize that we are authentic,” she said.

“We have the recipes that my mom and grandma used to serve to us, so we have those recipes that they used,” said her younger brother Abraham.

“They are very traditional and we follow all the steps, to bring them to the tables and that what makes them unique.”

Power said that she has been in Canada for nearly 19 years and that she first came here to learn English. She moved to this area 10 years ago when her husband was posted to the air force base in Trenton, she said.

Abraham Ramos, 29, Belleville, co-owner of Chilangos is talking about bringing their culture to the community. Photo by Matthew Morgan, QNetNews

Ramos came to Canada seven years ago and has a degree in international relationships that he received back in Mexico. Ramos decided that he and his sister opening a business together would be a great opportunity as well as allow him the opportunity to be closer to his family.

“It’s great to be working with him,” said Power. “We came up with the idea and we opened the business together.”

They chose the name “Chilango” because it refers to residents of Mexico City, she said. Both of them were born there.

“I believe that business for us as of late has been great for us fortunately,” said Ramos.

He said that there is potential to open another location in another city in the future possibly. Right now they are happy to be part of the revitalization in the downtown.

““I believe it has been great for us, being part of the revitalization of downtown Belleville,” said Power. “It has been great to see many new faces coming out to eat and support our business.”

Isabel Cid talks about her connection to Chilangos being that she is Mexican herself. Photo by Matthew Morgan, QNetNews

Isabel Cid, 55, is a regular customer who came to Belleville from Mexico 15 years ago.

“I really like their food, because as a Mexican, they use products that are natural and nothing from cans. It’s closer to the food we have back in Mexico,” said Cid.

Rachel Staighmainprize is an employee of Chilangos. She said that she has worked there as a front house server for a year and half.

She said that she was a customer of Chilangos restaurant even before she worked there.

“I love it, I couldn’t ask for better bosses, better location and better quality of food.”

National Taco Day falls on Oct. 4 each year and has been celebrated since 2009 across North America and other parts of the world as well. The taco-eating event at Chilangos will have six contestants who were chosen to compete. Power said that local media will be present for the event also. She said that the contestants will have a set number of tacos to eat, and whomever finishes first, wins.

” We are expecting to have fun and share our food and culture with the community,” said Ramos.