Can I help you?
Something many foreigners have a hard time getting used to is buying meat. If you didn’t grow up on a farm then likely your version of meat is those neat little Styrofoam and plastic wrapped containers you find at the supermarket. Now, if you happen to live close enough to a larger supermarket like Jumbo or La Sirena then you can continue to view your meat as always sold in those neat little packages, but for the rest of us in the Dominican Republic…
Welcome to the Carniceria, The Dominican Meat Market!
Now, just to put this to rest, that angry looking guy in the image to the right, That’s Just for show!. Yes they do actually use machetes for just about everything including cutting meat. However, this guy is the owner of one of the meat markets in Fantino de Cotui and is actually very nice.
It’s not just about the Meat!
Well, it is just about meat, just not what we would always call meat. If you look closely in the picture you will see that there are hooves of, well something, on the counter. It also isn’t strange to find goat heads, cow heads, pig heads, you get the picture. Most carnicerias sell chicken, pig, and goat meat as well as beef. You can also find a lot of the other body parts that are not as frequently used in the States (well, except for in Hot Dogs).
Choose your Chicken!
Chicken is also a little different experience. At times they already have several chickens slaughtered, other times you can pretty well pick your chicken which is running around in the back of the store, they catch it, take it out back and 5-10 minutes later after the bird is killed, bled, and plucked it comes back to be chopped up with a machete, you pay a little more per pound if you want the innards cleaned out. A word of warning, stand back as they start chopping, or expect to get spattered!
Most places bleed the chicken properly, but if you notice the meat is pinker than normal you might want to ask them to try again and this time bleed the chicken longer.
Bleeding the animal is also a problem with pork. Most pork you find in the meat local meat markets is not properly bled. Many Dominican like the blood to remain in pork so the animal is often strangled or killed without bleeding it afterward. (more…)