Some time ago I wrote about Gallo Pinto, the breakfast food of Costa Rica in this post entitled “Happy Monday.” Well, as a comparison, I’d like to take a little webspace talking about the Yucateco breakfast called, “cochinita.”
Here in Mérida, pork is king. Not to say that there aren’t other meats, but if you are going to eat yucateco style, pork is the food of choice in the majority of the dishes from breakfast to dinner. So let’s talk about this most important meal of the day. Here’s the scoop on cochinita:
Cochinita is basically a pork sandwich. On the street, the marinated pork is usually cooked on a open fryer in front of you or ahead of time in an oven and then brought to the site, but “real cochinita” is cooked underground. That’s right, a hole is dug and a fire is built. When the only the hot coals remain, the meat of the pig is cooked in a clay pot that is buried in this pit. The result, I have heard, is delicious, but I’ve yet to sample it so, on with the cochinita of real life.
The sandwich is served on a hard roll, on which the sauce of the meat is ladled first, and then the pork is laid, by hand, on top. Now there are two types, cochinita especial, which is all meat, and the cochinita normal, which includes “other parts.” This family has yet to sample the normal, but our mentors, Paul and Sandy Kazim tell us it’s the more flavorful of the two. Finally, some onions finish the sandwich along with some picante, which never fails to accompany Mexican dishes. The result is the traditional breakfast food of the Yucatan.
Now I explained this dish to my brother, Mike, who told me that it needed something else, like eggs, in order to make it breakfast, but the Meridians don’t seem to miss it. What do you think? Are you ready to give up your Wheaties yet?
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