Chicago: Chaufa Aeropuerto at Tanta
There are three distinct components to the chaufa aeropuerto, or Peruvian pork fried rice at Gaston Acurio's new Chitown outpost, Tanta. First is the pork fried rice, which is sautéed in a wok before being transferred to a heavy stone bowl set over a flame. Yes, it’s all very dramatic, but the theatrics have just begun. Next, a shrimp tortilla (Spanish omelet) is fired and slid on top of the rice in the now smoldering hot bowl. Finally, a spicy garlic chile sauce is poured over the top.
The sauce is the shining star of the dish, a combination of heat and sweet that pools in the dimples of the soft egg layer and then seeps into the rice as soon as the protective covering is broken. Once the massive dish is at your table, the egg is mixed into the rice, which includes crusty bits of rice that almost caramelize along the edges of the bowl, much like paella. It is all of these components - the perfectly orchestrated texture and flavor notes - that work together to create something altogether indescribable.