What looks like a shipping container posing as a food truck, Lechonera La Piraña is a well-known, local staple serving up authentic Puerto Rican cuisine right in the heart of the South Bronx.
Service is exceptional! Unfortunately, the food I was served was lackluster. The rice grains in my arroz con gandules were hard with a burnt taste. The pernil was pleasant, but the seasoning was not present. The bacalaito was a nice treat. Bacalaito is a crispy fritter made with dried salted cod fish that has been soaked in water overnight to remove most of the salt. It’s then mixed into a batter with other ingredients like onions, bell peppers, and cilantro. The batter is then dropped by the spoon full into hot oil and deep fried ’til crisp.
Lechonera La Piraña’s bacalaito fed my eyes as well as my stomach. The various bell peppers and herbs were so bright and colorful like carnival in Trinidad. With the understanding that we also eat with our eyes, the bacalaito absolutely fulfilled my pleasures through sight.
The last item I tasted and highly recommend is the shrimp pastellillo. Succulent shrimp cooked in a light tomato sauce. Chef Jimenez’s choice of herbs and spices for the shrimp filling are on point! The cooked and seasoned shrimp became the magical filling in a dough that is then deep fried creating the most flaky, crunchy crust filled with fresh, flavorful shrimp. I enjoyed it with hot sauce. You can also try it with ketchup-mayo sauce, which is a simple blend of ketchup and mayonnaise often served in Puerto Rican restaurants to complement their tasty, savory turnovers.
Many famed chefs among the likes of Andrew Zimmerman and Action Bronson have ventured into our beautiful, Bronx borough to enjoy Lechonera La Piraña’s lightly seasoned pork that has been slowly roasted until the meat is fall off the bone tender. This place is a local gem that’s probably more appreciated by those who did not grow up in the Bronx experiencing Puerto Rican culture and cuisine. I noticed a lot of the positive reviews on Yelp were from Asians, specifically of Filipino descent. Apparently, Lechon is a big deal in Filipino cuisine, possibly because of their Spanish heritage.
Overall, Lechonera La Piraña is more than just its food, it’s home. It is part of a community filled with soul. I encourage you to support this small, local business if not for the food, but for the feeling of community and family it provides its patrons.
Lechonera La Piraña
766 East 152nd Street
Bronx, NY 10455
Hours of Operation: