Lurín is a beautiful valley just south of Lima, the capital of Peru. The landscape is stunning, with small farms, horse stables, small towns, gorgeous beaches, an island in the shape of a whale that you can see from the coast, and a major archeological site at Pachacamac, one of the main attractions in the area. Equally famous is the fried pork, called chicharrón, that is made here.
Many an entrepreneurial chef has taken advantage of the valley's beauty and its proximity to Lima to open country restaurants that are really popular on weekends. They offer a wide range of first-class food, which I highly recommend. But people from Lima have been visiting Lurín for decades just to eat the chicharrón, which is second to none. In the old days, you had to drive on an old stretch of the southern Pan-American highway, but nowadays, an expressway can get you there in a matter of minutes. The trip is worthwhile for many reasons.
Peruvian chicharrón is different from that of other countries because it's meaty rather than crunchy. It's made by marinating pork meat in salt water. Then, the meat is washed and boiled until the water evaporates, and fried in the fat rendered while boiling. The end product is succulent, with the amount of fat determining how soft and flavorful the meat is.
It's always served with bread, fried sweet potato slices - cut fairly thick and not crunchy - plenty of creole sauce, and various other sauces. As a delicious braised pork sandwich - "pan con chicharrón" - this chicharrón becomes a hearty weekend breakfast staple. And to make the experience even more authentic, make sure your meal is served with freshly made fruit juice and a good cup of coffee with milk.
If you go to Lurín, stop at any of the small "huariques," simple, family-run restaurants that you'll see everywhere, where you can enjoy delicious chicharrón with all its condiments.
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