Best Food Truck
An Interview with Elizabeth Bibiano, Head Chef / Owner,
and Jonathan Bibiano, General Manager / Owner
Photos by Stephanie Cameron
Elizabeth and Jonathan Bibiano on the Vegos food truck.
Vegos is an all-vegan food business with a focus on New Mexican cuisine. The menu takes inspiration from the kind of food New Mexicans grow up on—the plates that give you the warm fuzzies. Vegos places an emphasis on made-from-scratch goodness that’s wholesome and just downright delicious. The crew is currently serving out of a tiny food truck trailer, lovingly named Rosita, whose serving schedule has been reduced as Vegos navigates the process of expanding into a brick-and-mortar store.
Your original vision was to fill the void of vegan New Mexican food. The need was clear to vegans and vegetarians—any words to inspire omnivorous skeptics to try your food?
The word vegan can be misunderstood. So instead let’s try words like chips and salsa, calabacitas, horchata, or even guacamole. Not only are these combinations of words familiar, but—it might surprise folks to know—they’re naturally vegan too! There are plenty of everyday staples people are familiar with but may not see as vegan. We just think good food is good food, and we aim to make dishes that appeal to everyone by using familiar flavors and textures while substituting the animal-based products with plant-based ones. We believe a tamale or bowl of posole can be just as delicious without meat; instead of focusing on what we don’t put in our food, we like to focus on what does go into it.
Was there a pivotal moment or experience that inspired you to go vegan? Is there anything about eating or cooking vegan that is easier than you might have expected?
While we were living in an RV in the middle of Alaska, the nearest grocery store was a two-hour drive away and meat was hard to come by. So we challenged ourselves to go a month without meat. What started as an experiment slowly evolved into a new way of life. Most people think that going vegan means you’re “giving up” so many options, but I’ve found the opposite to be true. We still enjoy all the same foods we did before, just in a new way. Name a food you couldn’t live without and there’s likely a vegan version. When a vegan version doesn’t exist, that’s when I get the most excited, because that means I get to create something that’s never been done before.
What’s the secret to a good vegan tamale?
Love, of course! Oh, and fat, ha! But really—the fat you choose to use in your masa, I think, is pretty essential. While tamales are traditionally made with lard, there are so many vegan substitutes out there! I encourage folks to experiment and find their perfect combo.
You’ve been voted best food truck, but you’re planning to open a brick-and-mortar venue soon. How can readers help, and what can we expect from the menu once you open?
It’s very surreal to us to have been named best food truck—what an unbelievable honor. While we love the food truck world, we are also so excited about this next Vegos chapter! We want to continue our focus on fast and affordable vegan New Mexican cuisine while also offering guests the option to build what they want. This means a menu with various proteins, starches, and sauces, where guests can choose burritos, tacos, enchiladas, or tamales. We will continue with some staples people have come to love, like our seitan burrito, tamales, and enchiladas, but there will be new options too. We are excited about our panadería being available daily as well. This means conchas, empanadas, churros, and sopapillas. Thirsty for more? A storefront means we can start serving our scratch-made drinks too! The greatest help folks can bring is by coming out and continuing to dine with us. Sharing our name with friends and family is the greatest compliment. The community has been amazing to us, and we are so grateful to be a part of it.
4003 Carlisle NE, Albuquerque, vegosabq.com