CHEECH-A-RON aka Chicharrón you’ve probably seen in the US, albeit in a liquor store or grocery in a Latino neighborhood, is fried pork rinds at its most simplistic; something must more magically delicious in this context. The conversation began over dinner with our neighbors, Carlos and Beatriz. Carlos asked if we liked Chicharrón, to which we responded with that universally recognized crumpled up face. Shocked, he asked if we had ever had it “Costeño-style,” and then promptly invited us to a “Chicharrónada” the following weekend.
We piled into their car and took the windy Las Palmas highway up to “Embalse La Fe,” Dam of the Faith, a lake created by Medellín’s principle water source. Entry to the park and lake cost about $4, which includes just about everything you need to have a great afternoon. We found a cooking site and Carlos proceeded to get to work. The meat he purchased was nothing more than pork ribs and stomach cyts, but as he stressed “the fatty part has the most meat,” a tried and true method. He sparked the coals and when they were red hot, he threw the pork into a frying pan and placed it on top, no oil, just a little salt, pepper and cooking in its own fat.
The pieces varied, from the salty thin parts that I had known from having Chicharrón in restaurantes to the more meaty pieces, like bbq pork ribs but with a distinct and delicious flavor. I had about 7 or 8 pieces, not too big, but extremely filling and complimentary with an ice cold beer. After the bbq, we headed out on boats (included in the price) to explore the lake and beautiful scenery of La Fe. Even cooler was the fact that boat rentals were included in the entry price and Elizabeth and I were able to rent a “Water Bike,” something I’d never seen before. All in all, I’d say the Chicharrónada at La Fe was one of the better Sundays I’ve had in Colombia.