What the Heck is/are Cuchifritos?

18 Nov

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Cuchifritos, often known as “Puerto Rican soul food” includes a variety of dishes including but not limited to morcilla (blood sausage), papas rellenas (fried potato balls stuffed with meat), platanos rellenos (stuffed plantains), chicharron (fried pork skin), and various other parts of the pig prepared in different ways. It derives its name from the word “cuchí” short for “cochino” or pig and “frito” which describes something that is fried. “Cuchifritos” may also be used to refer to restaurants that serve this type of food. Such establishments are fairly common in New York‘s Spanish Harlem, South Bronx, Brooklyn, and other primarily Latino neighborhoods throughout the country and in Latin America. They tend to make use of colorful external lighting and big flashy signs. They also serve juices and drinks pineapple juice, coconut juice and ajonjolí, a drink made from sesame seeds.

Thanks to my friend Cesar Gomez at the Sarasota/Manatee Latin Chamber of Commerce for finally providing the answer to this nagging question. It has been driving me nuts ever since I first heard a tune by Joe Cuba (“Tu Lo Sientes”). Check it out – it’s a groovy Latin number based on the Willie Bobo song “Fried Neckbones and Home Fries.” Seriously!  

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