La Guacamaya de León – A Mexican Sandwich from Guanajuato

I have mentioned the state of  Guanajuato in several posts, with its rich history as the cradle of Independent Mexico,  or along with other states sharing a tradition, but recently, I have been reviewing regional recipes for tortas – the Mexican sandwich – and one that got my attention is from Guanajuato, specifically the city of León, called La Guacamaya, which is the Spanish name for macaws (Ara macao), a type of birds known for their colourful plumage and loud noises.  The origin story for the sandwich says that in the 1950s, a customer asked a vendor of pork rinds to put some in a crusty bun, and top it with lots of spicy sauce; it was so spicy, that the customer could not stop making noises, puffing and crying loudly, and the vendor called him “ruidoso como guacamaya” – “as noisy as a macaw.”  

Guanajuato Style Pork Rind Sandwich –

La Guacamaya de León  

Printable recipe: La Guacamaya de León

Ingredients (for four sandwiches)

4 crusty buns, such as bolillos
3 cups fried pork rinds (chicharrón); broken into bite-size pieces
1 cup tomatoes; washed, stem ends removed, and chopped
½ cup white onion; peeled and chopped
¼ cup cilantro; thoroughly washed, and chopped
1 serrano or jalapeño pepper, or more, to taste; washed, stem(s) removed, sliced very thinly
2 limes; washed, cut into wedges
1 avocado; washed, peeled, sliced (right before serving)
Salt, to taste
Spicy red sauce; click here for my recipe, or salsa from jar, level of spiciness, to taste
Optional: pickled pork rinds (cueritos); click here for my recipe, or from jar

Mix tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and hot pepper(s); season with lime juice and salt, to taste.  Mix with spicy red sauce, and reserve.   Open buns along one side, and remove some crumb from inside, to form a pocket.  Divide fried pork rinds amongst the buns, then top with pickled pork rinds (if using).    Serve with reserved salsa, avocado slices and lime wedges:

The plain torta looks pale, but once dressed with all the toppings, and sprinkled with lime juice, Guacamayas become very colourful, and provide a satisfying, surprisingly delicious, and very crunchy bite (colourful and noisy, like a … macaw?!)

FUN FACT –  An Olympic Ice Skater in León, Guanajuato?  The Winter Olympic Games 2022 are coming to an end; I was not going to talk about them at all, but a Mexican athlete definitely deserves a mention this time around.   It has been the case that members of Mexican winter Olympic delegations are frequently people with dual citizenship, who would not have qualified for the games if competing for their other country of citizenship.  However, Donovan Daniel Carrillo Suazo is a young figure skater, born in Guadalajara, in the Mexican state of Jalisco, who started ice skating when he was a little rascal, trying to be friendly to a girl he liked.  He discovered he really loved the sport, though, and began lessons with – also Mexican – coach Gregorio Nuñez; when he was 13 years old, there was a layoff at the only ice rink in Guadalajara, and ended up closing, so he moved to the city of León, in the neighbouring state of Guanajuato, where he has continued his training all these years (he is 22 now) with the same coach.  Reportedly, he has trained at a mall rink during public hours, and at some point had to decline participation at a few international competitions, due to lack of funding.  In 2021, Donovan earned a spot to compete at the 2021 World Championships, in Stockholm, Sweden, finishing 20th overall, which granted him a spot in the 2022 winter Olympics; he placed 19th in the short program, becoming the first Mexican skater to ever accede to the long program.  It might not seem like a big achievement for countries with lots of resources for winter sports, but in Mexico, Donovan Carrillo has made Olympic history by finishing in 22nd place overall.

8 thoughts on “La Guacamaya de León – A Mexican Sandwich from Guanajuato

      1. We used to eat pork as a child, in those days they were just pork chops. Even as a grown-up I would enjoy them maybe twice a year, but by then they were boneless pork steaks, or somesuch. As pretty-much veggie, I never even entertain the thought these days, although I will eat bacon occasionally.


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