Tag Archives: Hugo Chavez

Forest Hills restaurant expands menu to include Venezuelan food


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

With a family history that spans three continents, Ysabel Chang and her family are expanding the menu of their restaurant in Forest Hills to reflect their roots.

“We don’t look Venezuelan but we are. I consider myself to be Oriental and also Spanish,” Chang said. “So it’s all about the arepas for us.”

TuArepa Pizza Cafe opened last year near Queens Boulevard with a menu limited to pizza. But as the business grew and the family saved money, they recently expanded their menu to include arepas, a South American dish of cooked dough filled with anything from chicken to cheese. The restaurant’s new menu also includes Venezuelan lasagna, pernil and pabellon criollo, a shredded beef dish. Chang, her sister Elena and Elena’s husband, Francisco Duran, own and run the business.

“When people call us on the phone, they hear my accent or speak to me in Spanish and then they come into the store, confused by my appearance,” said Chang, who is in her 40s.

Chang said her family is originally from China but her father fled to Venezuela when he was 12, around 1956 according to Chang, because of communism and the political unrest it created.

After marrying Chang’s mother in Hong Kong, her parents settled in Venezuela, where Ysabel and Elena were born. The sisters lived in Puerto La Cruz until they graduated high school.

“And then we started to notice things were changing in Venezuela,” Chang said. “My family knew by experience something was happening. We knew how this story would end.”

Chang moved to America in 1988 and the rest of her family soon followed after Chavez attempted an unsuccessful coup d’état in 1992.

“We just knew that we couldn’t go back to Venezuela,” she said. “There was a lot of kidnapping and crime in general was rising. What’s the point of working so hard if you can’t even enjoy the money?”

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

 TODAY’S FORECAST 

Monday: Overcast in the morning, then mostly cloudy. High of 55. Winds from the ESE at 10 to 15 mph. Monday night: Partly cloudy. Low of 41. Winds from the SE at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Marking Spaces: New York City’s Landmark Historic Districts 

The NYC Landmarks Preservation Law, enacted by then Mayor Robert Wagner on April 19, 1965, protects the city’s architecturally, historically and culturally significant buildings and sites. One of the best manifestations of the New York City landscape and the impact of landmarks is the Panorama of the City of New York at the Queens Museum of Art. The new exhibition “Marking Spaces: New York City’s Landmark Historic Districts,” will have yellow flags placed on the model to identify the 109 historic districts throughout the five boroughs. On view through June 2. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own 

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