A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from May 01, 2005
"Cuchifrito" are small, fried parts of a pig. Stores with "cuchifritos" signs have dotted the Puerto Rican areas of New York City for the past fifty years.

Amazingly, the word "cuchifrito" is still not in the Oxford English Dictionary.

n. pl. cu·chi·fri·tos
A small deep-fried cube of pork.

SYLLABICATION: cu·chi·fri·to
NOUN: Inflected forms: pl. cu·chi·fri·tos
A small deep-fried cube of pork.
ETYMOLOGY: American Spanish : cuchí, pig (alteration of Spanish cochino, diminutive of coch, interj. used to call pigs) + Spanish frito, past participle of freir, to fry (from Latin frgere).

What is a cuchifrito, you may ask? Well, it is a very colloquial name for the traditional chicharrones, which are pieces of tender pork meat with some fat that are cooked in huge pans, preferably over a wood fire. Roll them in a corn tortilla, add some lemon juice, and eat them along with parboiled green plantain.

I don't consider myself an expert on the subject of ethnic dishes. However I do know for a fact that there are some who would squirm at the thought of tasting many of these delicacies. And so with this in mind I would like to introduce you to one of not only mine, but of many Puerto Rican's favorite, The Famous" Cuchifrito."

I say famous because of the quote " The whole Cuchifrito" that is heard in the movies, radio and even in conversations. Now to tell you the truth I don't know if it is that these people tasted this super wonderful dish, of "OURS" or if it is just the rhythmic sound of the word "CUCHIFRITO" .

The truth of the matter is that this dish is made with parts of the pig that may turn some of you off.

In South America, street vendors serve cuchifrito, or "little fried things," at snack counters that go by the same name.

26 October 1962, New York Times, classifieds, pg. 37:
Your GOLDEN oppty, 115th St, 189 E.
Top loc for pharmacy (opp Bd of Health), Cuchifrito, Lunc'ette & others.

20 February 1969, Lima (Ohio) News, pg. 41:
A bank, a community organization and slum residents have opened a cooperative cafe in Brooklyn. The Afro-Spanish Co-op Restaurant was financed by an investment of $7,000 from Chase Manhattan Bank's Capital Corporation. Managed by a group of local residents, it offers a menu of "soul food" such as chitterlings and Spanish food such as cuchifritos.

3 October 1973, New York Times, pg. 88:
Mr. Marcho crouched with his arm around the stroller in which Mrs. Norma Baez was pusing her 2-year-old son Israel in front of the Cuchifritos store on Southern Boulevard - then Mr. Blumental crouched at the child's other side.

May 1974, College Composition and Communications, pg. 208:
a smelly cuchifritos shop

Spring 1979, American Speech, "New Borrowings in English," pg. 33:
There are 5 foods, like _cuchifrito_;
13 September 1979, New York TimesFrom the luncheon crowd at the cuchi frito stands on 116th Street to the leisure crowd loitering at the corner of 110th Street and Lexington Avenue, hardly a nationalist could be found.

12 January 1994, New York Times, pg. C1:
PUERTO RICAN food is not just cuchifritos, thos fried bits of pork that are sold at luncheonettes.
Posted by Barry Popik
Food/Drink • Sunday, May 01, 2005 • Permalink

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