At a Glance:
Most of the time you find Chicharrónes in the Dominican republic as street food, where it’s fried to a crisp, brown, and dripping in grease. It’s not something we usually enjoy.
However, In Santo Domingo, there’s a little place where you can find the most succulent Chicharronnes I’ve ever had. They call it “light” but don’t fool yourself, it’s a heart attack in a styrofoam package, but a real treat on our visits to the capital.
Chicharrón Light is a walk up window next to your typical colmadón, in this case, a giant tiled dining room with televisions and round plastic tables and plastic chairs. Grab a seat and a beer while you wait for your food, but you won’t hear yourself think over the Musica Tipica… There’s usually a few couples dancing at a time, right at their table, but mostly Dominicans seem to be equipped with an uncanny birthright of holding conversations over sub woofer blasts that measure 5.1 on the Richter scale. Like most colmadóns, this one is usually frequented almost exclusively by locals just hanging out, you can find places like these at most corners of the capital, they’re typical of the country and not usually anything exceptional; but at this specific colmadón, there’s an interesting mix of cultures happening as Chicharrón Light has become quite the attraction for all walks of Dominican society. You’ll find a few suits getting their fix after a long day at work or well dressed couples socializing before their evening outings, as well as an almost constant stream of pimpin’ rides–not all of them in mint condition–flashing their bling and perusing for a different kind of meat. Chicharrón Light is a classic.
But the attraction isn’t the place itself so much as the food. Yes your arteries will be a little tighter after this meal, but it’s well worth it. The pork has the same salt-to-fat-to-crunch ratio the people at Doritos paid so much money to scientifically perfect, except it’s also got juicy chunks of savoury meat. I cannot possibly in words describe how delicious it is, except to say that it has the power turn vegetarians into raging carnivores by way of the smell alone, that delicious aroma making its way into your nostrils like a genie would make his way out of a lamp. It’s not all meat though, don’t forget to get your side of boiled yucca or batata chips because your meal just wouldn’t be complete without them.
Except it’s also got juicy chunks of savoury meat.
There’s nothing to say about the staff, this is a walk up window. You get your number, you socialize while you wait your turn, you get your food when it’s ready. They do what they can to pump out the pork until there is no more, and they often run out, so get there early if you’re only in town for the night. There is no table service here, your food comes in styrofoam boxes with plastic cutlery (which you will not need, and the one napkin in the pack won’t help you much either) It’s no frills, it doesn’t need to be, the food speaks for itself.
As a whole we highly recommend Chicharrón Light and its neighbouring colmadón to satisfy both your taste buds and your cultural curiosities. This is the epitome of typical Dominicanness: greasy meat and fried ‘viveres’ served with a generous helping of Perico Ripiao. Go now, thank us later.