It looks like a bit like fried pig skin, but it's actually a puffy cracker made from wheat flour. You may have spotted this snack at your local raspados shop, where it goes by the name Duro. (And sometimes verduro, or duro con verdura.)
Unlike her crazy younger brother the Tostiloco, the Duro is sophisticated and well-put together, even a little bohemian. Her signature topping is an artful mix of chopped vegetables, or verduros in Spanish.
At the cozy little southside shop Juice N' Fruit Raspados, 3502 S. Sixth Ave., the Duros come to your table with an interlocking pattern of tomatoes, ripe avocados and small cubes of cucumber. The base is smeared with mayo and layered with chopped cabbage. And then on top, a thin spritz of fruity Chamoy sauce; not too much, but just enough to set the fresh ingredients off with a little tang. (I also got some parmesan cheese on top. Yum!)
I expected the cracker to taste salty like a chicharron, but it was actually rather light and airy. It felt good to eat in a wholesome way, easy on my belly. I picked up the whole thing and ate it like a slice of pizza, and then decided to snap it and break off smaller pieces. A little messy, but it worked.
The snack is a little under the radar and hard to research on the internet, but back at the office I got this tidbit of information from the Star's building technician Jorge. (After he saw the picture on my screen.)
He told me that Duros come from his hometown of Nogales, Sonora, and were invented in the late '90s by a street vendor in the Plaza Niños Héroes downtown. The vendor thought to put some shredded vegetables on top of the cracker, and the idea quickly took off. Shops around the city started to serve them, giving Sonorans their salad fix ... with a little carbs so it tastes good!
Do you have a different story? Feel free to share your Duros memories in the comment section.