One of my favorite foods in Medellin, Colombia is fried pork belly also known as chicharron. It is a common meat item in the Andean regions of Colombia that is an option to many dishes including the famous bandeja paisa. Resembling an ultra thick slice of bacon, this calorie and cholesterol packed slice of heaven will tempt even the most ardent vegetarians away from their meatless doctrines. The skin is left in tact and becomes a crunchy side treat to the layers of fat and moist red meat that accompany the cut of pork. Some places even serve up chicharron snacks or mecatos as they are referred to in Colombia that have been diced down to tasty bite sized portions that are served as a stand alone item or sometimes mixed into other tasty dishes with steak, chicken and potatoes.
Here is a great recipe for chicharron that I borrowed from Erica at My Colombian Recipes :
1 ½ pounds pork belly with meat, washed and cut into 4 pieces
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups water
1. Place the pork belly pieces, skin side down on a work surface and then make 1 ½ inch crosswise cuts on each piece, being careful not to cut through the skin.
2. Rub the pork belly strips with baking soda and place in a medium saucepan. Add the water and salt. Cook over medium-low heat until the water evaporates.
3. When all the water is evaporated increase the heat to medium and cook the chicharrones for about 15 to 20 minutes or until they are golden and crispy.