Thursday, June 26, 2014

Chicharron at Lily's Mexican Market: Let The Experts Fry Chunks Of Pork Belly For You

A chicharron from Lily's Mexican Market
"That which does not kill us makes us stronger."

Apparently, a famous German philosopher had eaten chicharron.  Now, you can as well.

You can thank Seb, who left a comment last month on a post asking for advice on what to order from the butcher at Lily's Mexican Market in Columbia.  Seb steered me a few feet from the butcher to the taco counter where he talked up the chicharron:
It's a star attraction at Lily's. Not for the faint of heart, the square chunks of pork meat and fat are perfectly fried. Super crispy on the outside and sinful fatty goodness on the inside. Napkins required, cardiologist appointment recommended.
Perfectly described.  With chicharron, you get old-school food.  A deep-fried morsel of pork, fat and skin.  With my normal diet, that skin is crispy and exotic.  I bit through the chicharron, and the meat provided a solid chew and flavor.  Then the fat squeezed out and burst around my mouth.

The chicharron at the Lily's taco counter
It's delicious.  It's rich and crunchy.  I bought three as a sample, and it was probably one too many.  For a while that afternoon, I could feel grease coming through the pores on my face.

To me, that the perfect kind of food to buy from an expert.  Lily's folks crisped my chicharron skillfully, and I don't have to butcher pork belly or clean up after deep frying.  They made a great snack.  They're an authentic taste of Mexican cooking.  They'd be amazing party food if you have a friend who talks a big game about loving bacon.

I'm a huge fan of Lily's Mexican Market for the butcher, the house-made tortillas, and the full selection of Latin American items.  I'm still looking for suggestions about what cuts of meat to buy from the butcher.

On my last trip, I bought El Salvadoran crema and grated cotija cheese for terrific corn.  Grill the corn, then spread a light coating of crema, which is the consistency of sour cream.  Then roll that in a dish filled the salty cheese.  The corn becomes a star of any plate.  With some tortillas and other items, you can do authentic, delicious tacos any day.


The Unmanly Chef said...

These look awesome, I have to go try this place. Do they make home-made flour tortillas too? Or just corn tortillas

Kattrina said...

To the Unmanly Chef above, I've seen homemade flour tortillas there, usually on the bottom shelf where the corn tortillas are. I am not sure if they make them there though, they may be made a bakery or something. They are delicious though.

My husband love the chicharron there and orders a whole bag of it to eat throughout the week (luckily not too often). As for meats, we buy a lot of meat from the butcher. Usually we buy the masitas de puerco (some type of pork cut up into chunks). When we get home we season it (in all different ways - sometimes just salt and pepper, sometimes with Cajun seasoning, and sometimes with a made-up marinate of vinegar and random other stuff I find) and then pan-fry it. We've also bought the fajita steak and had them season it there and then we grill it at home (in one big piece, not sliced into smaller thin pieces). We've also gotten some type of pork that looks exactly the same (fajita pork?) - very thin and flat. They will season it there and then we grill it. I'm not sure what that is called though. They are all very delicious!

Trip Klaus said...

Having tried unsuccessfully to make these at home many times, I now defer to Lily's for their chicharrones. They also had very good ones at Tere's prior to opening the new restaurant. Not sure if they still do but if so very good version.

Anonymous said...

Check their FIFA World Cup schedule. Went today at 11 a.m., and along with the other people milling around out front, was disappointed to find them closed.