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Tocino is bacon in Spanish, typically made from the pork belly. But in Caribbean countries, such as Puerto Rico and Cuba, tocino is made from pork fatback (equivalent to slab bacon cut) and neither cured nor smoked, but just fried until very crunchy and added to recipes, much like lardons in French cuisine.
Preparation in the Philippines
The meat is sliced into thin strips. Anise wine, annatto, water, sugar, and salt are combined in a container. Each strip is then sprinkled with the mixture and stacked in a separate container, which is covered and kept refrigerated for about three days to cure.
Tocino is traditionally boiled in water (just enough water to cover the meat) or fried in oil, or is cooked over medium heat until the fat is rendered. The original tocino is marinated only with salt, sugar, and saltpeter, although pineapple juice may be added for a slightly tart flavor. Kapampangans who make tocino mix it for 4 to 6 hours in order to achieve the thickness and softness of the meat, then leave it overnight at room temperature before serving it, a dish they call burong babi (fermented pork).
Tocino is often eaten with garlic rice and fried egg in a dish called "Tosilog" (short for "tocino, sinangag at itlog", referring to the dish's three components)
Preparation in the Caribbean
Tocino is cut into small squares and fried until crunchy and added to recipes like mofongo and arroz blanco con tocino, "White rice and Tocino". In Cuba, it can be added to soft bread.
Tocino is also the Spanish translation for bacon, which is the English word for cured meat.
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- Tocino Puerto Rico