Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: I love cities that have streets devoted to pork
On a strip, about a 10 minute drive from the Cathedral Center of Arequipa is a magical place. Pulling onto Avienda Arancota you are hit with a momentary panic. There seems to be nothing on this road as it extends out into the barren hills. You are pretty sure the taxi driver is wrong and you are about to get jacked but finally a gaggle of buildings appear and your panic subsides as you pull into Chicharronera Cecilia where the sheer amount of cars and people, have you wonder if the majority of the Arequipa population is here in this spot.
Chicharronera Cecilia fall into the category of a picanteria technically in the sense that families come here mainly on the weekends and eat the afternoon away but it is more than that. It is a party pavilion and I mean pavillon literally. The main show of Chicharronera Cecilia is double dickered pavilions filled with people and live music and a dance floor.
I most definitely stood out here, not too many Asians in this part, especially here. But after I sat down, I was soon “adopted” Bragelina style by a family in which they tried to make conversation with me and feed me Inka Cola and beer, not mixed of course. Due to noise and having a long last name, I only really got the head of the family’s name Luis who insisted on me drinking multiple beers with him. For those following, I am not a big drinker but it was rude to not accept it. However later I wish I did, because it paid for it the next morning on my way to the Colca Canyon.
The thing to get here is pork. If you do not get pork here, you have wasted your time. Fried pork goodness is what you get here and the only question is how much of it you want. It is or course, served with fried sweet potatoes, a fried potato (never can have enough papas) and salsa criolla. The pork is a cut of the belly with the lion attach giving you a range of cuts and the sucker is deep fried. The mixture of booze and fatty pork was almost overwhelming.
Cecilia is more than just a restaurant, it is a retreat, I mean in the back of the party pavilion was a big playground for kids. It is a place for families and all to come and relax on Sunday, drink, dance and have the odd chance of getting a gringo tipsy on booze and pork.
(If your taxi driver doesn’t know where this is, be wary)