“They have Peruvian sandwiches,” my pal Cristina told me a few weeks as I stood slack-jawed in front of Juanita’s, the only Peruvian sangucheria in Queens. We’d already had two meals, so there was no way we were eating any more that afternoon.
A week or so later I returned to the groovy cafe on Northern Boulevard, this time with an appetite. Among the half dozen sandwiches—including pollo a la brasa and butifarra, a home-made roast ham—the one that stood out to me was the chicharrón, after all who doesn’t like shatteringly crisp, succulent pork. Something about the menu description, crispy pork shoulder with sweet potato sounded familiar, but I wasn’t sure why until the sanguche hit the table.
“Chicharrón con camote!” I exclaimed to myself when I recognized it as a spin on a popular Peruvian breakfast sandwich, which consists of pork belly and sweet potato. Juanita’s substitution of the meatier, leaner shoulder was a nice touch and it still had plenty of crunchy skin. The accompanying salsa criolla—a vibrant mix of onions and peppers—provided a nice foil to the pork.
Best of all Juanita’s is open at 10 a.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. on weekends, all the better to enjoy their take on this traditional Peruvian breakfast. Who knows, I may do something not so traditional next time and put an egg on it.
Juanita’s 84-15 Northern Blvd., near 85th St., 718-779-7272