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pork belly with chicharron

Imagine walking up to a counter and ordering a taco crafted from a specific mix of pig parts based on your specifications.

In the Yucatan, there are special places that specialize in frying up all the offal and other extreme cuts of the pig. Places like this always have a line item on the menu for an offering called castacan which is a platonic mixture of all the parts the house has to offer. This “salad” is dressed with salsa, lime, and crisp vegetables. A large sheet of chicharron is then broken over the top. You scoop up gobs of it all with a tortilla that you wield like a catchers mitt. It is awesome.

This is not that dish but it is inspired by it. We formed a sheet of chicharron into a shape that any red blooded American will compare to the edible bowl a taco salad comes in. The form is filled with a mixture of pork belly and garnished with various herbs and vegetables.

It's all to be broken apart, doused in salsa, and served with good tortillas.

(This dish was served at 510 Madison and is currently retired.)

-Chef Alex Stupak

Photo by Evan Sung