La Rika – Catalan specialities served by a N 1300

Erika and Josep have always been fascinated with the idea of running a mobile food stand. When the married couple from Barcelona discovered the classic N 1300 it was love at first sight – and they converted it into their food truck “La Rika”.

Love at first sight

Erika and Josep had been dreaming of starting their own company with a food truck for a while. “We both have a passion for cooking. This is more than just our hobby”, explains Erika. That is why Erika and Josep always have their eyes open whenever they are out and about in their home city of Barcelona. However, it took a while for them to find the right van. ”We had to search for several months”, says Josep, who works as a web programmer during his day job. The couple met Ricard in Terrassa, roughly half an hour away from Barcelona – and discovered his light blue Mercedes-Benz N 1300. “We immediately knew that this was the perfect van for our project”, says Josep.

We both have a passion for cooking. This is more than just our hobby

The “La Rika” team from Barcelona.

Loving DIY conversion

Ricard converted the N 1300 into a camper van. The vehicle was produced in the mid-1970s in Vitoria in the Basque region as the predecessor of the MB 100 and has since become an absolute rarity. “Ricard loved travelling in the small van”, explains Erika. Nevertheless, he sold his vehicle to Erika and Josep at the end of 2014. The couple then lovingly converted the N 1300 from 1979 into their own personal food truck. Josep initially replaced the cooler and made a number of small repairs. However, the small van was still a camper van and not a food truck. “First of all, we removed the entire interior”, reports Josep. Then the couple integrated a professional kitchen along with gas and power supplies. It took then the entire summer to fit the classic Mercedes-Benz van with an anti-slip floor, integrate wooden shelving and kitchen equipment and install a lighting system. They quickly converted their own garage and garden into a workshop. Friends and family joined in to help.

The yellow food truck “La Rika””, a Mercedes-Benz N 1300, at an event


In 2013 Francisco, Gonçalo and Joao came up with the idea of starting a mobile café. They promptly converted a Mercedes-Benz N 1300 into “Combi Coffee”. Since 2015, the trio has been treating Porto’s coffee enthusiasts to excellent coffee.

> Read more about  Combi Coffee

Mercedes-Benz N1300 Combi Coffee

Bright yellow paint job

Erika, who works as a graphic designer in her day job, had a different idea for the light blue exterior of the N 1300. She wanted a bright yellow paint job. Now all they needed was a name. The Spanish couple ultimately chose “La Rika”. Erika’s young nephew always called his aunt “Rika”. “We liked the name”, reports Josep. The perfect name given that the word means something especially tasty and delicious in colloquial Spanish. Written in capital letters, the name is now emblazoned on the folding sales counter. “We have invested so much time and love in this project”, says Erika. “It was an amazing feeling when the vehicle was finally finished.” “La Rika” has now been gracing events in and around Barcelona for more than two years. “We primarily offer delicious sandwiches prepared using only selected and seasonal products from the region”, explains Erika. The couple bakes the bread for the sandwiches, for example, themselves. They purchase the other ingredients such as vegetables, cheese, meats and suchlike directly from farmers or greengrocers.

It was an amazing feeling when the vehicle was finally finished. We primarily offer delicious sandwiches prepared using only selected and seasonal products from the region.

The picture shows a man in the driver’s seat of a Mercedes-Benz N 1300

N 1300 – a true eye-catcher

“La Rika” also serves delicious baked goods. Josep and Erika also bake these themselves. “We always try to give our cuisine a certain international touch”, says Erika. The two prepare the street food with a lot of love and also understand that what they offer has to be a feast for the eyes and not just the sandwiches sold by “La Rika”. “Our N 1300 is a real eye catcher and a top-class attraction”, says Josep. Many people are impressed with the excellent condition of the classic Mercedes-Benz van. “People often ask us about our vehicle’s history”, explains Josep.

A yellow N 1300 from Mercedes-Benz drives through a landscape

A journey into the past

“It is like travelling back in time”, adds Erika. Josep knows that without power steering, parking can sometimes become a real challenge and says with a grin: “I no longer have to go to the fitness studio.” The couple has had many wonderful trips and moments with their classic Mercedes-Benz van. “When we come home in the evening after a street food event, we are always so grateful that we found the van”, explains Erika. “We also look forward to the next journeys that we will make thanks to La Rika.”

La Rika
Barcelona, Spain

Photos: La Rika & Damaris Riedinger