Bringing the love of Mexican food to Waiheke, and proving to be a great success in doing so. Waixican is the product of Alejandra Zambrano and Rodrigo Manzo, who share a love for making authentic food from their home country and meeting people in doing so.
Born in the summer of 2020. Waixican was the only answer to Waiheke’s missing piece for Zambrano and Manzo. Feeling obliged to provide authentic Mexican food and warm customer service to match, the introduction of this now-beloved food truck created an opportunity for the pair and satisfy their own cravings in doing so.
Manzo, the co-founder and executive chef, discovered his passion for cooking in New Zealand ten years ago. Manzo always held a special place for Mexican cuisine, as it reminded him of his childhood which he spent in Mexico City. Learning secrets from his grandmother’s kitchen at age eight, Manzo has integrated his knowledge into his cooking.
“I never miss out on an opportunity to cook for friends and family, on special occasions, or even when I’m homesick and simply need to fix my strong craving for home.”
Zambrano on the other hand is the co-founder and managing director. With more than 12 years of experience in the hospitality sector, Zambrano made the bold move from Colombia to New Zealand.
Starting as a waitress, Zambrano found the relationship between food, drinks, and providing joy for people illuminating. Following her is a lineup of managing several restaurants, cafes, and hotels throughout some of New Zealand’s hottest tourism destinations such as Queenstown and Marlborough sounds.
With the combination of their skills, Waixican prides itself in creating dishes that stay authentic to Manzo’s Mexican heritage. Taking inspiration from a combination of recipes passed down in Manzo’s family since the 1950s with twists to accommodate dietary requirements.
“All our fillings, salsas, soups, broths, and sides are handcrafted seasonally in Waiheke island using the best local and Mexican produce we can get our hands on. Transporting you to Mexico with every bite.”
Ensuring not to compromise on the authenticity of their flavors, Manzo and Zambrano have found the sweet spot of innovations to provide Mexican food for anyone. For example, their new vegan Mexican ceviche uses cauliflower rather than fish and has quickly become a favorite for everyone.
Despite being detached from the mainland, Waixican still faces the ongoing challenge of the cost of living crisis. Simple ingredients such as lettuce, onions, and herbs all seem to be a common denominator across competitors too. Furthermore, they have started to see the impacts of climate change, and are starting to seek innovative and sustainable solutions.
With big dreams of expansion, Manzo and Zambrano look to make Waixican into a franchise around New Zealand and internationally.
If you want to go check them out, head to Waiheke Island. Waixican is often located on Putiki Hub - 8a Putiki Road, Ostend. Alternatively, at one of the vineyards or festivals.