Pieces of pork belly, slowly cooked in its own fat. Juicy and with more taste than it started with, the pork is placed in bread with some sweet potato, fresh onion and specks of rocoto chilli. So wrong yet so right.
It’s not the healthiest of Peruvian delicacies, in fact, it’s probably the least healthy. You might want to try it last on your gastronomic tour because you can often buy the meat in kilos, and if you’re alone and don’t have virgin arteries, it might be the last thing you eat.
For those who normally eat well enough to be able to sin once in a while, or for those young enough not to care just yet, don’t dare miss the chicharrón.
Where to go
In Lima, perhaps the most well know place to go is the sanguchería El Chinito. A local legend for workers and residents in colonial central Lima, Félix Yong’s restaurant hit the mainstream when recommended by celebrity chef Gastón Acurio. Found on the 8th block of Jirón Chancay, they sell chicharrón with a slightly altered almost oriental recipe, as well as a multitude of other sandwiches.
Also in Lima is the restaurant Fiesta Lima Gourmet, which sells the northern Peruvian version of Chicharrón that is widely enjoyed in towns like Ferreñafe and Monsefú. Frito Chiclayano is accompanied by yuca, onion and a delicious Lambayeque salsa of cerezo and mochero chillis.
Most of Lima’s residents though, when they get really serious about going out for some Chicharrón, head south of the Panamerican highway and out of the city. Head up off onto the older ex-Panam next to the ruins of Pachacamac and you will be spoilt for choice.
Heading to the beach during the summer months, along the modern Panamerican, you are also overwhelmed for choices, the bulk of these between the beaches of Pulpos and Punta Hermonsa. The oldest of these is Sarita.
Sarita started as a simple bodega in the desert 30 years ago and stayed that way until 10 years later when it occurred to owner David Jurado Guillén to sell bread and chicharrón to passers-by. In the years that followed many traders joined him, there are now hundreds of restaurants selling seafood for lunch and chicharrón for breakfast. The son of the original owner has since opened a new Sarita on the corner of the same block, this one larger, and with a more modern design.
If you’re heading north outside Lima, don’t miss a stop off at the restaurant on the right after you come out of the Serpentín highway. It’s the place to eat breakfast after an early start on a trip to Caral, Lachay or beyond.