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El Atoradero is a tiny Pueblan grocery that seems to be expanding its territory—if not in size, than at least in the hearts of the local Mexican and Central American community. Unfortunately, its kitchen is only open on the weekends, starting in the morning and continuing through an early lunch. Walk in on a Saturday and you’ll be rewarded with the scent of a deep cauldron of carnitas simmering before you. Picaditas are similar to sopes, and I figure the difference is really just in size, but here the fresh corn tortilla is elongated and even larger than usual. El Atoradero’s salsas are excellent, but the tomatillo truly shines for freshness and variety. They make only a small amount of picaditas daily, so ask for a taste, and marvel at their complexity. Weekends only.
This festive Puerto Rican snack truck’s eponymous lechón (here, heavily salted and roasted pork belly and rib meat) is one of New York’s best. Just below the rack of pork, though, is a tray of alcapurria, a fritter typically made from mashed yuca and filled with spiced meat. If you get the chance to step into the truck, try La Piraña’s banana alcapuria. The edges are deep fried to a crisp brown, the mashed banana is mildly sweet, and the ground beef inside is well spiced. Weekends only.
Lechonera La Piraña Truck
E. 152nd St. at Wales (Map)
Bronx, NY 10455
This unassuming street vendor in the South Bronx has been serving one of the best South Mexican tamales in New York for over a decade. Each $2 burrito-sized tamal, wrapped in banana leaf and served from an insulated stock pot, is composed of a masa so smooth and creamy that it comes with a plastic spoon. The fillings, shredded chicken and pork matched with fiery salsas, are generous. Just show up before the morning commute is over; by 10:00 a.m. they’ll be gone.