The Fried Food King - Pica Pollo
The famous “fritangas” (fried foods) are an inherent part of Dominican culture. We have developed the ability to pass any food through boiling oil: potatoes, yucca, sweet potato, pork rinds, beef and of course chicken.
In fact, the latter is a favorite of culinary jargon so much that it is not just any fried chicken, it is called “pica pollo”. The dish is prepared somewhat different from the traditional recipe, for example, the chicken is cut into pieces, boiled first with condiments and before it is completly cooked it is passed through flour with oregano and salt and then fry in enough hot oil. Usually accompanied with fried plantains and salad.
But more than a recipe, this dish has become part of the Caribbean culture. First because it is widely consumed by the amount of establishments that exist throughout the country. On the other hand, due to its low cost, this is a food that a low income family can afford since a three piece service plus accompaniment can cost RD $ 200 to RD $ 300.
The “pica pollo” is an everyday thing. It is a must on the menu of most restaurants, especially the Chinese who have integrated the dish to their specialties with great acceptance. There are also places where this is the main dish on offer and are open until the late hours of the night.
Beside the chimi, hotdogs or pizza, the “pica pollo” has earned a special place among the favorite foods of Dominicans after a night where the stomach has to have something strong in order to hold you up. But it is not an exclusive dish of the night owls, it is also popular among the construction workers who are seen at noon carrying a foam box containing fried chicken, fried plantains and a large red spot that is nothing but the famous “cachú” (ketchup) because people, it has to be clearly said: a respectable “pica pollo” can not be served without “cachú”.
And the trips? A side from the Spaghetti (in a bottle of soda) the “pica pollo” is the official food of the trips to the beach or the river. Families who don’t complicate themselves, when lacking a beach umbrella they look for a good shade under an almond tree or a palm, open up their bags and pull out the portions of chicken bought on their way there. Add a soft drink, “yaniqueque” (Johnnycake) and for dessert a “palito de coco” (candy covered coconut) sold at every beach and with that the trip is complete.
But if what you want is to quietly sit to eat some chicken, take a trip around your neighborhood, it won’t be far until you find who sells it, forget the diet and unleash the taste; because as they say, just the once... will not do any harm.