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Nicholas Gilman is a renowned journalist and food writer based in Mexico City.

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TACO TIME: Tacos de Carnitas @ Meche y Rafael

TACO TIME: Tacos de Carnitas @ Meche y Rafael

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Carnitas distill the flavor of roast pork down to its essence. According to legend the dish originated in the Michoacán area; it is now found throughout the republic, often under the rubric ‘Carnitas Michoacanas’. Regardless, the preparation method varies little from region to region. The partitioned animal, including its viscera, is first boiled in water perfumed with onion and garlic, then braised in its own fat, confit style.

One of my favorite places to eat carnitas tacos is in the Mercado Medellín. But only on Saturdays. Meche y Rafael run a nearby meat stand and put out superb carnitas on Saturdays. A jolly lady from the state of Mexico makes tortillas perfumed with epazote. The salsas are select. I always ask for either surtida (a mix of a little of every pigpart) or costilla con buche--rib and stomach, a nice wet/dry combo. The less adventurous may order maciza which is plain loin. The stand, which has a few tables set in a niche, is located on the first corridor as you enter from the "food court": turn left at Helados Palmeiro and follow the butchers to the penultimate stand. There are other carnitas in the corner but they aren't as good. Trust me.

Mercado Medellín
Every Saturday from 9 a.m. until they run out, 3 or 4 p.m.
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