Top Three Dim Sum Picks in L.A. - Originally posted on KCET. See the full piece here. I get asked where the best place to get dim sum is a lot. Unlike more obscure categories of Chinese foo...
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Deliciosa Lechona, Bogota,Colombia: Hog Heaven, Tolima Style
A perfect roast suckling pig is one of those foods that makes the ladies scream and the fellas throw up a fist pumping "Yeah!" It is prepared by so many cultures in their own unique ways, in Colombia it is referred to as lechona. The common thread is that this is a dish that excites our inner beast.
Colombian lechona is a specialty of the department of Tolima, just to the west of the capitol, Bogota. Colombia is divided into 32 departments, those are states to you and me.
Back in December I was walking through the bargain shopper's bazaar at San Vitorino, near the historic Candelaria in downtown Bogota, Colombia checking out the street food. I was told there was an area nearby with competing Toliman roast pig stalls, but there was so much going on in San Vitorino, so many eats, and I took a detour a few blocks away from the San Vitorino plaza when I saw the object of my quest and needed look no further.
I tucked myself against a wall in this narrow restaurant corridor. No, this isn't a walkway to a dining room, it is the dining room. I love these places in Latin America, a mere sliver of a restaurant, where comings and goings require you to walk sideways, brushing up against the other customer. This isn't a dining experience for the claustrophobic.
This lechona stopped me in my tracks as I made my way towards the plaza. It is truly sublime, the sight of this golden, cripy pig. But here's the part that might just strain your optic nerve. The cost of a serving is about $1.55.
Lechona Tolimense is traditionally roasted in a brick oven. The carcass is stuffed with the pig's meat, cooked rice, chick peas, onions,rubbed with an adobo that includes cumin, and Seville orange juice is brushed on the skin to flavor the lechona and give it color.
Each order come with arepitas, little, soft arepas served cold.Arepas are the tortillas of Colombia, thick and flavorless corn discs, that are prepared in a variety of styles, and sizes.
These come from the El Carriel bakery, and are a common store bought arepa.
To drink, an orange soda from Hit, a popular Colombian brand of sodas.
Luscious and majestically, fatty rice is served with a perfectly brittle patch of skin, so savory,barely held together by an underside of oleaginous tissue. The arepita is a perfect pairing of cold, corn cake, with no qualities that can distract you from the porkgasm at hand.
All I saw on the entrance to this closet of a restaurant was Deliciosa Lechona, perhaps there was a name somewhere, or I could have asked, but I didn't have much to say.....dumbfounded. But, this place needs no other name, Delicious Lechona, indeed. I can barely imagine this being done any better.
near San Vitorino Plaza