Chicharron – Chicken Fried

On a Friday morning, or actually any morning, I hear the delightful anticipation as Limenos get ready for “chicharron “day. Chicharron translates to pork skin or crackling. In Peru, a “pan chicharron” is a sandwich, but with more than just crackling, as it actually is a “pork roast sandwich”. The sandwich is a fresh white bun with slices of pork roast including the crackling, deep fried sweet potato slices, and “sarza criolla” and spicy mayonnaise. “Sarza criolla” is “salsa criolla” or “creole sauce” which in Peru is thinly sliced red onion dressed in lime juice. So not a sauce at all! But it is a “dressing” for the sandwich. The spicy mayonnaise is made from a thin mayonnaise (more like a salad dressing in consistency than a spreadable mayonnaise) mixed with a Peruvian chili sauce (or pureed chilis).

“Chicharron” is also used to refer to anything that is batter fried. In the U.S., dishes are often called “chicken fried” when referring to batter fried as in “chicken fried steak” In Peru, “chicharron de pescado” or “fish pork cracklin” is batter fried fish. Anything can be a “chicharron” but when not pork, it’s usually used about fish. The trend at many restaurants is to top off a ceviche or leche de tigre with a few pieces of “fish crackling.” Or one can simply order the “fish crackling” on their own (as in the photo from La Leche, where they serve the fish crackling with fried yucca, making it “fish ‘n chips”).

Every Dish Name Has A Story

Some Peruvian dishes have funny names, and all the dishes have a story. It’s useful to know what is what. Many of the dishes originated in the working class and I have been doing my own experiment to see if it’s true (more on the class system later).

Suspiro limeño = sigh of a person from Lima: the classic pudding dessert from Lima
Causa = cause: a layered cold potato dish whose origin is supposed from the women helping their men with fighting for the cause in the 19th century.
Leche de tigre = tiger’s milk: the lime marinade used for ceviche.
fullsizeoutput_1b1Chicharrón… de pescado = pork crackling… of fish (in the photo, the leche de tigre has chicharrón of fish on it): this is the terminology used for deep fried fish or chicken, etc. Much like “chicken fried” in the U.S. Chicharrón is also used to indicate the substantial pork roast cuts that include the crackling. Also the name of the sandwich (often served for breakfast) with the same pork roast slice.
Jamón de pavo = turkey ham: turkey deli meat that is processed to taste like ham.
Malarabe = bad arab: a soup from the north of Peru.
vwSVNPoeR5adOl2dpSkb34hAGqV0MLDKsFzlPQCBkoe46ZlpVvMKqI4BBzGftG-lHKN2vDzQzFJTT87WGRVBZXnqtdbrmlmmUr4kqGOf7iak0Zec2O1_p7udHGwcq5ek4nSMrxpf-JtJnYsv4No6KCPJvcyR8Jz0ku1_xBj7ydqlvDvJRXTrHLpWG1King Kong: a King Kong sized alfajor sweet.
Revolución caliente = hot revolution: a pastry sold at night, with its own song. Steeped in history.
Champú = shampoo: a dessert
Aeropuerto = airport: a stir fry dish so named because a lot of items land on the plate, mainly noodles and rice. This dish was named in the 1990s.
Siete colores = seven colors: a dish of seven colors, made with the following dishes — cebiche, tallarines rojos (pasta in red sauce), cau cau (made with tripe), papa a la huancaína (potatoes with yellow sauce), chanfainita (a dish often made with lung), arroz con pollo y ocopa (a peanut based sauce).
fullsizeoutput_1c1Mostro (but a variant of the correct spelling of monster. I was excited to see the dish on a menu — proof that the dish actually exists) = monster (pollo a la brasa y arroz chaufa): a spit roasted chicken quarter on a mountain of fried rice.
Mostrito = a small monster: an eighth of a roast chicken on fried rice. I was disappointed that a small monster wasn’t a larger whole chicken, but that’s me with my sense of humor…

The last two dishes are most recent and many people have not heard of them and when I ask where one can find them, I’m told “in the outskirts” which is the euphemism for the “hood.”

Breakfast at KM Marker 52

F2yl8Y-igUdNURLmAzWQCpeur1o8H6Zv798pGYDQkDxZGQPRy-fwnbw1cQ7A0uj3RuY_H9rQmsYDDRKS9kpWJJg8XpEGUyIJ7_rLmz4WFOrk4_VCxtuTpUhagoK7iOc7wTb5qN-m0-Ygf1tQZpGhaaxFj_K2Ny8b67j2OHTasnzfxXTrXkCEYTr1UCLocated on the Panamerican highway at kilometer marker 52 on the road south of Lima, this bakery is a great pit stop for breakfast. It’s called Tambo Rural (tambo is the indigenous word for kiosk) and there is no sign so you just have to pay attention and turn in at marker 52. They now have a real dirt driveway and expanded parking lot so it’s much easier to stop off the highway.

rP8ffFMWjFoeO9pHiACIZdI2I22UoepATGVvCzjeK1jnjiKTO6D5eud7lZp1Jemf9JhUZiNyBlOKncrgizEKdo_purEp-2EzpdgTud0Z_jZBpvelxPyZNharVRHQtyEq-9Iy0SWcrPclEo6sCZjc3cKNpVxObekZRGA6PHaIVypIZtViVExH2VzzjHThe coffee is amazingly creamy.

J5SvTUiS_l1c5D4XQyf8TZXgHLIYurlCGeczeKsrdUhZjX8bG6_jV1yxm3krCoGvezeKMcqLEm4Kfng8eiYMjXefhB0-eE0qHlqHwP0o6ruoaYZleuFLtxTq7Icv80sZaCt2yUUk4P6m57DQ-g39UfS1ulKOplJsL82ZHnhUu-oLEKaDEvqeQ5RhRfSpeaking of breakfast, they sell chicharron which they cook in the wood fired oven (how is that for mind blowing!?), a breakfast item in Peru.

GCByCJimKgLY6SwdvdBIKa2R9DfRMHnouDpGhwUjR90RGLffrwnLVDCTC2HnEaq4TFuyztNFg60wy-UdELbUe34bEVhXGotHOFFfhQ0MicmgNRMyasofP-WFm1ornHJD1CnaxUAEG7jZjv6F1zu01WAsDcs7f8UOkyRdmJX4bVJmzhoL85YjRFJTYIThey sell bread that you can buy to take with you including photogenic focaccia.

mEG8spfsoDGXjO0_vteyCFhAUIJR6ja7_9WqnrhBhV7r_33lJ3jvQyPnBadHt-LPWl36Sxy_yYFgDDI0vPu_x_uzEN1XNvg8z7P467UNAcD1FyTfXr2ApnLmw1MEg_tMSNnwgEP9tULJxKohbAO3tDUBTcHsDS8TKgPKAr2v04YMK9VPAPjKwVR3AmThey have toilets which work on a “bucket of water” flush system.

This place is not super fancy but it is good and covers all the bases. It’s not a secret either but TripAdvisor reviews are only in Spanish.

I enjoyed the fresh warm rolls, some filled with ham (turkey ham) and cheese, and some with olives and oregano. Plus that locally sources coffee. Yum. Great way to start a day and a trip. Go! Enjoy!