Over the course of the next few months, I'm counting down 100 of my favorite Houston dishes. I chose some because they are such quintessential Houston creations, others for their cultural or historical significance, and others because they are just so damn tasty. Share your own nominations in the comments.
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#97 Chicharron de Barriga at La Michoacana Meat Market # 10, 6036 South Gessner
At La Michoacana Meat Market # 10 at Gessner near the West Park Toll Road, I spotted a bin with what they called chicharron de barriga. I asked the butcher what "barriga" means. He turned sideways to show me his profile and patted his belly. There are two kinds of chicharrones in Houston -- puffy fried pork skins, and the meaty fried pork belly. I don't like the puffy stuff much, but I love the pork belly when it's piping hot. It tastes like deep-fried bacon. In Monterrey, Mexico, carnecerias sell chicharrones hot out of the fryer all day long. I wasn't lucky enough to be at La Michoacana when the chicharrones were coming out of the fryer (try Saturday morning). But I took my pork belly chicharron home and nuked it briefly, which crisped the whole thing up very nicely. I dipped each bite in Arriba roasted red salsa and washed it down with a cold beer. ¡Que rico!