By Nick Puckett
A south African chef is hoping to introduce his Kalahari chicken wings, from his A Taste of Soweto restuarant to visitors of the Annual A Taste of Colorado Food Festival in Colorado Springs. Mpho MaPoulo wants to introduce the taste of his home country to Americans with his start-up food business A Taste of Soweto. MaPoulo and his wife, Ocean, hope to have their own food truck at the festival come October.
A Taste of Colorado holds at Civic Center Park in downtown Denver for another Labor Day weekend, bringing with it 48 different food trucks and vendors and thousands of hungry mouths.
The annual food festival begins Aug. 31 and finishes Sept. 2 The festival is free to enter and open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, and from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m on Sept. 2. This will be the 37th annual A Taste of Colorado festival.
More than 500,000 people turned out throughout the long weekend last year. It is the largest food festival with free admission in the state. In addition to the 48 food vendors will be almost 200 retail vendors, a Kids Zone with arts, crafts and a children’s entertainment stage.
The event began in 1983 to bring people together through food and music. Now, the festival is bigger than ever. USA Today ranked A Taste of Colorado No. 4 on its 2019 list of Best General Food Festivals.
Ocean is the chef who makes the specialty stews and kota chicken and rice bowls — “kota” refers to the quarter loaf of bread used as a bowl, traditionally. The MaPoulos offer it over rice as well.
A Taste of Soweto only has five menu items, but, Mpho MaPoulo said, they have adapted over the months to fuse South African tastes with American ones.
One of the five items A Taste of Soweto will be serving up is Kalahari chicken wings — a South African twist on the Buffalo pub classic. The wings are tossed in a coriander-based Kalahari sauce, named after the Kalahari Desert in South Africa.
“It’s a very signature spice in South Africa for the sausage, but we have sort of invented a new food item all together — we use the spice on chicken wings,” MaPoulo said. “The whole idea is to make something recognizable or appealing to a different group of people, like Americans.”