Those who want a little something, whether its a snack or an appetizer, need to look no further than chicharrones. Chicharrones, popular in Peru, are also a restaurant staple in many parts of the world beyond South America. They are also served in Central America and Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba the Philippines and even Denmark, although the ingredients differ.
Chicharrones, in its basic form, is fried meat. Many times the meat is in strips, but can be prepared in other ways. Peruvian cuisine usually calls for the meat to be pork belly or pork rinds, but locals often use large meaty pork ribs known in the United States as “country style ribs.” Other meats, including chicken, lamb, fish and shrimp are also used in variations.
In Peru, the standard recipe is to boil the ribs down until there is no water in the pot. Then, they are fried in their own grease with a host of Peruvian flavors like aji peppers and spices. They are eaten for breakfast or lunch and served with a relish combination of lime juice and red onion and a baguette.
Those who love Peruvian food and want to make a meal of chicharrones add other side dishes like fried yucca or sweet potatoes. Since chicharrones are typically spicy, adding a starch or sweeter side dish works well as a meal.
In the United States, chefs have expanded the chicharrones recipe to add meats and even vegetables their guests desire. Chicken is the primary version, but calamari is also used, as well as mushrooms.
Those who want authentic chicharrones should dine at La Costanera Restaurant just outside San Francisco. This Peruvian restaurant has a fusion blend of the traditional Peruvian recipe mixed with ingredients found in the United States. The versions appeal to both those who love meat and vegetarians. Come and enjoy the taste of Peru!