The South Arm cooking club for seniors went for a Mexican meal for their last meeting in June. This is not only a dining out experience but it comprises of a tour at the Que Pasa factory. Do you know that Que Pasa in Spanish means “What’s happening?”
Que Pasa was established in 1983 in Vancouver as a small street-front deli specializing in freshly prepared salsas, and home-style tortilla chips. Since 2002, Que Pasa is operating in a larger facility plant at 12031 No. 5 Road in Richmond, BC. The plant includes equipment for cooking and volcanic stone grinding the corn and a large kitchen for the salsas and food preparation for the deli.
Que Pasa has made it to the 139 reasons to love Canada which was published on July 1, 2006 by Shelley Fralic in the Vancouver Sun. Que Pasa is well known for their organic corn tortillas, salsas and Mexican-style prepared foods like chicken fajitas, enchiladas, burritos and cheese quesadillas.
Que Pasa also produces several private label products, mainly tortilla chips for brandname like Western food and Kirkland. We were told that the Costco brand of tortilla chips uses organic corn and organic canola oil.
Que Pasa factory tours are held all year round. You can book a tour anytime with at least 2 weeks notice prior to the proposed tour date. The tour is free. There are some very stringent rules to be followed for the tour for safe and sanitary reasons. The rules are:
- no chewing gum,
- no food or drinks (understandable),
- no camera or audio equipment,
- no tank tops, shorts and skirts,
- no nail polish (we had one member to remove her nail polish before the tour start),
- no jewelry and watches must be removed or covered,
- no sandals i.e. all participants must wear rubber sole, full toe footwear, (we had one participant who had to go home to change her shoes),
- and participants must wear a hair net and a beard net if applicable.
All participants must wash their hands and go through a foot bath before entering the facility.
At the end of the tour, we got a free package of 60g Que Pasa seasoned snack chips. We got to choose from various flavours like spicy cheese, spicy salsa and sun ripened corn. We actually prefer to have a taste test of the different kind of chips instead. We would like to compare the difference between their hand cut tortilla chips and in-line tortilla chips. The hand cut chips are made from round tortilla which is then cut into triangle shape and the in-line chips are cut into triangles from the press. The in-line chips are supposed to have more bubbles and more crispy. When asked which is their best seller, it’s still the original blend tortilla chips. Que Pasa does carry blue (from blue corn) and red (with food coloring) tortilla chips.
After the tour, we headed to the Deli for lunch. Here are some of the food we had.
This is their 25th year anniversary Que Pasa pie. It’s rice top with a round tortilla and loaded with stuff as seen.
Chicken fajitas and enchiladas (the only item in the deli made with corn tortilla, the rest are made with flour tortilla).
Another enchiladas, burritos and quesadillas.
The retail store which is located next to the Deli carries a variety of specialty bottled sauces made from unique blends of chilies, a wide selection of traditional Latino seasonings, canned goods and pinatas.
Stella, thank you for organizing the tour for the seniors. It is certainly a very informative tour. We learned how tortillas chips are made from dried corns from scratch and we enjoyed the meal at the deli.