$9.50. Cabañas Restaurant & Bar. 1735 Decker Blvd. facebook.com/cabanascolumbia.
Chicharrónes morph a fair bit from region to region, though the act of frying pork in its own fat tends to be a unifying factor. The bagged rinds you find in the grocery store may be what immediately come to mind when many Americans envision chicharrónes, but there’s more than one way to skin a pig, and the more tantalizing preparations cut deeper.
The chicharrónes at Decker Boulevard’s Cabañas (featuring different ownership and recipes than the other Honduran restaurant named Cabañas in West Columbia) are made with Boston butt, which is slow-braised before hitting the deep fryer. Down a few of these golden nuggets and your tastebuds will tap out and surrender as you are lulled into a blissful food coma. Experience pure pork nirvana as the crispy exterior is breached and the juicy flavor of the tender meat underneath detonates in your mouth. The sauce they use, a proprietary blend of mayo, mustard and several cooked-in spices takes it to another level.
Intermittent nibbles of the accompanying cassava (AKA yuca) and cabbage salad are a must to prevent the richness of the chicharrónes from overpowering your palate.
Next time around — or if you want a true feat on your first time out — give Cabañas’ baleadas especiales a try. These warm, homemade flour tortillas packed with refried beans, scrambled eggs, queso fresco and avocado slices are a staple of the Honduran diet. A burst of Honduran mantequilla, which tastes almost like a cross between butter and sour cream, adds a pleasing zip to each bite.