If it’s the weekend, it’s time for carnitas at El Atoradero, a bustling bodega in Mott Haven in the South Bronx. Reporting on Chowhound, JFores describes luscious chunks of marinated pork belly, sampled on a picadita (pictured), a sopes-like boat of masa. “It is basically pork crack,” he promises. “Go here.” And go early. The kitchen at this Mexican and Central American grocery comes to life only on Saturdays and Sundays, and it doesn’t stay open late. Besides carnitas, look for first-rate pupusas patted out by a talented Salvadoran cook.
A few blocks away is another weekend-only treat, Puerto Rican–style roasted pork from a truck called Lechonera La Piraña. JFores (who was escorted around the neighborhood by Serious Eats’ well-traveled Bronx correspondent, Chris E. Crowley) says this lechon is the real deal: meltingly tender meat clad in crunchy, intensely flavorful skin, covered in terrific garlic sauce. “The occasional fattier bite can be a bit salty,” he allows, “but the other 10 bites are all insanely good.” Also recommended: freshly fried, generously filled shrimp pastelillos, aromatic with oregano. “I think roughly 15 shrimp sacrificed themselves in a blaze of glory for this awesome empanada-like snack,” JFores adds.
El Atoradero [Bronx]
800 E. 149th Street (between Tinton and Wales avenues), Bronx
Lechonera La Piraña [Bronx]
E. 152nd Street at Wales Avenue, Bronx
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Discuss: Nostalgia and a Bronx run
Photo by JFores