Saturday, April 01, 2006

Chicharrones, caldo de pescado, y coctel the camaron

The other day I had the opportunity to eat lunch with my mother and my sister. While we waited for our lunch to come, we were chatting and I reminisced about how we used to go to a seafood restaurant in Reynosa on the weekends. The restaurant is across from the train station in Reynosa. Just follow Calle Hidalgo all the way from the plaza until you hit the end and take a left. It's not a fancy place. In fact, there is no air conditioning, the doors are always open. Depending on the season, you may have to deal with flies.

We would go there to eat chicharrones de catan. Catan, I think is called gar. So, it's just fried gar. Of course, you don't just eat it like that. As is typical of Mexican tastes, the chicharrones are served with lime, salsa, and tortillas. So, you don't eat the chicharrones like you would here. You put the chicharron on a tortilla, squeeze some lemon on the fish, add salsa and salt to taste... yum. Just thinking about it makes me hungry.

Another item that I would regularly eat there was the caldo de pescado, fish soup. The soup is red because of the tomato. It has vegetables and fish, basically. It's garnished with cilantro and served with sliced lime on the side. It's generally good stuff; especially when you get a lot of fish in it. Sometimes it can gross you out, like when you find a fish eyeball in the soup. Just put that on the side and keep eating. If you're new to eating caldo in Mexico, don't just eat the caldo with a spoon. You need to grab a tortilla and roll it up like a fruit roll-up. Use it like people use bread rolls or biscuits. Take a bite of the tortilla, have some soup. Oh, and the lime is there for you to squeeze lime juice in the caldo.

Finally, I have memories of eating shrimp cocktail on the corner of Calle Hidalgo and the street along the tracks. There was this old man who had a cart there. His whole business was selling mariscos, seafood, in cocktails. We generally ate shrimp, but on occasion would have oysters, squid, and octopus. This guy could probably never get a health permit here in the U.S. We're too squeamish here. His water supply was a water faucet sticking out of the ground about 2 1/2 feet. His refrigeration was an ice chest. In any case, the coctel de camaron was made with ketchup, shrimp, hot sauce, diced onion, lemon, and some other stuff. He would serve it all in a sundae glass with crackers. Mmm. Delicious.

Here is a book I found with some Mexican seafood recipes in case you don't have a chance to come to the Rio Grande Valley and visit Mexico.
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