Mixed in among the food trucks at the Hollister Farmers’ Market, Raziel Silva is carving out a niche for himself, serving up shrimp at his Klamaronzitos food truck, a natural choice for someone who loves seafood as much as he does.
“Shrimp has always been my favorite food,” he said. “Pretty much anything having to do with seafood was always my favorite growing up. I was going to Tijuana a lot, and I always got a lot of different types of seafood. I couldn’t really go as often as I wanted to, so I just decided to start making it home.”
At the time, Silva was a full-time medical student, studying to be a physician’s assistant and working part-time at Urgent Care when he started cooking on the side for a little extra money.
“I had no experience as a cook previously and no cooking school background,” he said. “I just watched my mom growing up, learning some tricks here and there from her.”
His food quickly made an impression on his friends and family. “I was making trays of food, and everyone just seemed to like it,” he said. “My family pitched the idea to me, saying, ‘Why don’t you just make it and start selling it?’ That’s when it took off, and ever since then, it’s been a good hit.”
He started catering out of his cousin’s garage in Hollister and, telling his family he wanted to be in the food industry, took the leap and dropped out of school after his junior year.
“It was hard at first for them to accept my decision,” he said. “I was going for a good career with about eight years of experience in the medical field. It was a tough choice for me to make, but my family could not have been a better support system.”
He opened his food truck last September with just the basic setup he needed to be able to sell at the market.
“I always wanted to open a food truck,” he said. “But I knew Hollister was really strict about them. So I had the truck built only for cold food—my full menu for catering is made up of hot and cold things, but I am not equipped to do it in the truck. I just built it to get my feet in the water.”
Currently, his main menu consists of four popular dishes, including the Cali, which he said was inspired by the beautiful weather in California.
“It’s nice and sunny around this time of year,” he said, “so I was going for some nice bright colors for displaying this plate. It’s made with raw shrimp and cooked shrimp along with mango, which really stands out on the plate with some avocado for a bright green color.”
Another specialty is the El Patron, which is a kitchen-sink combination of all of Silva’s favorites.
“I came up with it because I had a lot of other items that I wanted to put all on one plate,” he said. “And what better way to name it than to call it The Boss plate? It has shrimp that has been cooked in lime juice and shrimp that’s been boiled, along with sea snails, abalone, baby clams, octopus, and scallops, then finished with a bunch of avocado slices.”
Silva said that he has been getting nothing but good feedback from customers at the market, and he sees an encouraging future.
“I’m looking to hopefully have another truck built which will be better equipped,” he said. “And then I will be able to provide more of my whole menu. I will have fried shrimp and battered fish tacos, along with a couple of soups and a few other things I am pretty sure will be flying off the shelves.”
Down the line, if the opportunity arises, Silva would like to open his own restaurant and has already looked at a couple of locations, though none of them has caught his eye.
“I really want to get into the steak industry,” he said. “But I have to take things one step at a time. I have only had the truck for a little less than a year, and I still have time to grow.”
The Klamaronzitos Klamango
“The Klamango is a ceviche, so everything is chopped up in little cubes with raw shrimp sauteed in lime juice,” Silva said. “It’s also got tomato, onion, cucumber, just a little pinch of cilantro, and a couple of ounces of clamato juice. There is a sauce we make in-house and then we finish it up with avocado on top.”
This entry in the Eat, Drink, Savor series is a bit of a leap of faith for me because I can’t eat shrimp. So I coaxed local artist Riley Nester to be my taster on Silva’s most popular dish.
“It has a lot of complex flavors and it is really colorful,” Nester said. “It is not like a straight ceviche, and what you taste depends on which part of the plate you are tasting from. It will go from cucumber to mango to tomato, and I love the way the flavors bounce around. I think he is cooking the shrimp in the cucumber, lime, and onion and then adding the mango at the end because there is an undercurrent of those tastes, and the mango just rides on top of it. The shrimp is tender and juicy and the whole dish is absolutely delicious.”
Besides the Farmer’s Market, the Klamaronzitos food truck can be found near the Flynn Road RV Storage at 741 Flynn Rd. Silva also does catering.
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BenitoLink thanks our underwriters, Hollister Super and Windmill Market, for helping to expand the Eat, Drink, Savor series and give our readers the stories that interest them. Hollister Super (two stores in Hollister) and Windmill Market (in San Juan Bautista) support reporting on the inspired and creative people behind the many delicious food and drink products made in San Benito County. All editorial decisions are made by BenitoLink.