1 Minute Meal: Comida Tipica in the Bronx and in Brooklyn

by James Boo on August 30, 2013 · 4 comments

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Episode 07: Lechonera La Piraña
1 Minute Meal’s first foray into the Bronx couldn’t focus on a better piece of South Bronx living.

A standalone trailer parked on a nondescript street in Mott Haven, Lechonera La Piraña comes alive on Fridays, serving Puerto Rican dishes through the weekend and closing on Sunday evening. The owner and cook, known to the neighborhood as “Piraña,” is immensely warm-hearted. Working during the week as a building superintendent, he uses his part-time business (and full-time sound system) to make the corner of Wales and 152nd Street a place to relax, to party, and to gather around good food. Free plates of food for children are a common sight, and I’m told that every Friday night produces an end-of-the-block party.

The lechon itself is cooked in a wooden shack, housed in the center of a vacant lot between two apartment buildings and containing nothing but a multi-level pizza oven—installed for the single purpose of roasting the parts of a whole hog. The words “HOOD SHIT” are spray-painted against the lot’s back fence, and Piraña holds the key to the padlock on the front fence. This may be more Mott Haven style than Puerto Rican style, but one bite of the pork makes it tough to tell the difference.

Episode 08: El Olomega
On the opposite end of the 5 boroughs, El Olomega has been cooking the city’s best pupusas for decades. As part of the Red Hook Vendors Association, the Lainez family has played a major role in keeping this neighborhood institution alive in the face of a regulation stranglehold. The Association submitted its second 6-year permit proposal in mid-July, surrounded by whispers of doubt as to whether the Ball Fields will continue to be a food destination for the entire tri-county area.

Marcos Lainez, though, is convinced that only good news is on the horizon. Serving 18 variants of the Salvadoran staple (including one joyous rendition made from mashed sweet plantains), El Olomega personifies the Red Hook Vendors—a family forged in food at the edge of a soccer field.


Lawrence the NYC Food Guy September 17, 2013 at 11:44 am

That El Olomego video has to be the best one yet. Marco is the man. Janet is incredible. Their pupusas are probably one of the most delicious food items in ALL OF NYC. That shot you have of the breathing pupusa before its lifted off the grill. Fucking art. Great job. I just added you to my blog roll on NYCFoodGuy.com, would very much appreciate it if you did the same, but no pressure either way. Just enjoying your ethnic food videos, love that you’re getting to the places SO MANY PEOPLE (including me, that Bronx pork spot? WHAT?!) don’t know about. It’s important.

James Boo September 19, 2013 at 12:26 am

Thanks for the kind words, Lawrence! I’m looking forward to building up this web series and highlighting all of the food culture that really makes NYC an exciting place to live, eat, and learn. I’m really excited that you’re into it and hope you’ll be fan as this grows.

Karl October 24, 2013 at 6:24 am

I love lechon…they always have it for gatherings and parties in The Philippines. Its by far my favorite Filipino food…..its a shame its really hard to find in Sydney

Zach November 7, 2013 at 2:40 pm

Each new 1 Minute Meal makes me that much more excited for a many minute Jodie.

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