Astoria Eats: Roast Suckling Pig at El Boqueron

I’ve noticed that young children aren’t usually grossed out by the sight of a whole roast animal on the plate. On the contrary, it seems to become an object of curiosity for kids as they poke and prod it. But the image seems to cause problems for some adults in this country. Does this mean that fear of meat served head-on is something you learn? Perhaps the neatly sliced chunks of meat sold in the grocery store, hiding not just the face but also the species, have something to do with this.

Yesterday, my wife and I sat down with a group of a dozen eaters to roam off the menu at El Boqueron in Astoria. We were served a roast suckling pig, pre-ordered from the week before. And the beast arrived from the kitchen whole.

It’s always useful to see exactly what your dinner looks like before it is carved up into little morsels. You know, to make sure that you still want to be a carnivore. Last night, twelve people confirmed their carnivorousness in front of the 25-pound critter that arrived in a curled up pose as if it were asleep (overlooking the apple in its mouth, of course).

It was leaner than other roast suckling pigs I’ve had, perhaps indicating that this little piggy partook in plenty of exercise. But he paired well with passionfruit sangria and cinnamon-seasoned plantains.

I would imagine that the whole-roast-animal event, complete with tabletop presentation, is not always practical. It may not work so well for eating steak, unless the restaurant has a forklift.

About OmnivorousTraveler

Darrin DuFord is a travel writer, mapgazer, and jungle rodent connoisseur. His writing has won numerous awards and has appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, BBC Travel, Gastronomica, Roads & Kingdoms, Narratively, and Perceptive Travel, among other publications. He is the author of Breakfast for Alligators: Quests, Showdowns and Revelations in the Americas (released in July 2016) and Is There a Hole in the Boat? Tales of Travel in Panama without a Car, silver medalist in the 2007 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Awards.
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