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Amy Rivera Nasser started selling pastelillos in 2018. Photo Courtesy of Amy Rivera Nasser.
Amy Rivera Nasser started selling pastelillos in 2018. Photo Courtesy of Amy Rivera Nasser.

Amy’s Pastellios offers Philly locals a taste of Puerto Rico throughout the city

Her first pop up was at Garage in Fishtown.

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Amy Rivera Nasser always saw first hand how Puerto Rican cuisine was created from her mother’s kitchen in Hunting Park, Philadelphia.

“She was always in the kitchen cooking something,” Rivera Nassar said in an interview with AL DÍA News.

However, it wasn't until her college years that she began experimenting with cooking. One recipe that she always turned to were pastelillos — a Puerto Rican hand pie usually filled with picadillo (ground beef), shredded chicken, or pizza.

“At potlucks, I would cook pastelillos and people would love them,” she said.

Although Rivera Nassar became a mother of two, she still wanted to have her own business in 2018 and took a chance by selling pastelillos for the first time at Garage in Fishtown.

“I wanted to try something new, so I used their kitchen that they had and that first night was very successful,” she said.

From then on, Rivera Nassar made it her mission to take her pastelillos to different parts of the city so that customers could experience the tasty, deep-fried crispiness of an authentic Puerto Rican street food item.

She attended events and even co-founded a series called, GUSTO Philly, the city’s only Latino culinary event series.

Amy Rivera Nasser likes to play around with different recipes when making her pastelillos. Photo Courtesy of Amy Rivera Nasser.
Amy Rivera Nasser likes to play around with different recipes when making her pastelillos. Photo Courtesy of Amy Rivera Nasser.

During her off time, Rivera Nassar likes to play around with different recipes. Her husband is Lebanese, so she decided to create a pastelillo filled with fava beans, onions, tomatoes, and eggs.

So far, she has stuck with a guava BBQ pork, shredded, slow-roasted pork marinated in Puerto Rican spices.

She also has delicious vegetarian and vegan options, such as her gandules and yucca pastelillos. Another delicious option is her soy chorizo and potato pastelillos, which always sells out quickly.

While Rivera Nassar is known for her delicious deep-fried creations, she recently combined her love for cooking and used it for a good cause.

She recently had a pop-up event called, Pastelillos for Peace. All of the proceeds from the event went to WC kitchen to help feed Ukrainians who are at the borders of Ukraine.

Others who were in attendance were Kouklet Brazilian Bakehouse, Herman’s Coffee, and Sweetbox.

“I was so overwhelmed and shocked to see so many people supporting the event, I probably sold out in about an hour,” she said.

She recently collaborated with Juana Tamale and her location to offer pastelillos and side dishes, including arroz blanco, jamon, and sweet plantains.

Some events that Rivera Nassar will be doing is a pastelillo demonstration at the Parkway Central Library of Philadelphia.

GUSTO Philly, the catering event series she co-founded will be hosting the demonstration. She and her business partner, Marangeli Mejia Rabell will be showing attendees how to make pastelillos, while also discussing their experiences living as Puerto Ricans in the U.S., and how to keep customs and traditions alive.

This event is part of The Free Library’s, One Book One Philadelphia program and will feature author Quiara Alegría Hudes’ book, “My Broken Language.”

Rivera Nassar has many pop up events in the works, however, if you are interested in tasting some of her creations check out Queen and Rook Cafe in Queen Village.

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