Puerto Rican Cuisine

Puerto rican food

What to eat in Puerto Rico?
Puerto Rico is famous for its vibrant culture, its beautiful beaches and its historic heritage. But what about its food? Puerto Rican Cuisine is a mix of diverse influences and strong flavors, European, African and Indigenous (Tainos), offering bold dishes that would water your mouth. Although it might be a little similar to other latin cuisine, the native ingredients and techniques are quite unique to Puerto Rico.

Having the opportunity to enjoy them first hand is on many travelers’ bucket lists. If you are visiting, there are a couple dishes you shouldn’t miss:


Mofongo

A staple of Puerto Rico, Mofongo is traditionally made from a mash of fried green plantains with pork skin and garlic. It could also be stuffed with seafood, chicken or bacon. Although It has African origins, the final dish can be attributed of the mix of cultures of Puerto Rico. A variation of the dish is “Mangu”, popular in Dominican Republic, but made with boiled plantains instead of fried. One of my favorite dishes, with an intense mix of flavors and textures.


Pastelón

Another Puerto Rico favorite, a plantain-based lasagna, consisting on sliced mashed plantains layered with seasoned grounded beef and topped with cheese, with a strong mix of flavors from the sweet of the plantain and the salty of the beef, that melts in your mouth.


arroz con gandules

Arroz con Gandules

Considered the national dish of Puerto Rico and a holiday favorite, dating back to 18th century. Made of rice, pigeon peas, tomato sauce, seasoning and sofrito (aromatic cooking base with green peppers, onions, garlic, coriander).

There are different variations of the dish, as every family might add or remove some ingredients. Some like to include bacon or another spices like cumin, oregano or olive (in between others)


Empanadillas

Empanadillas

Tasteful pastries filled with a mix of ground beef and potatoes, perfect as appetizers. They can be fried or baked. Although they are pretty much empanadas, the empanadillas tend to have a thicker outer crust.


Tostones

Tostones

We all know tostones (they are wildly popular)!
Twice Fried wheels of ripe plantains, marinated with salt and garlic, often served as a side dish, however they can also be topped with cheese, salad, ketchup and /or mayonnaise and serve as a main or an appetizer.


Puerto Rican Pasteles

Pasteles

Flavorful meat pies, made with green plantains and filled with meat (such as pork or chicken) and boiled in a banana leaf, usually served on Christmas dinner and similar to the mexican tamales.


Alcapurrias

Alcapurrias

A classic “fast-food” dish in the island. Fritters made with a dough of yuca and plantains, and then stuffed with seasoned meat (like beef or crab). Somewhat similar to a corndog (but with a lot more of flavor)


Tembleque

Tembleque

A famous Puerto Rican dessert made of coconut, milk, sugar and cornstarch; served mostly on holiday season. Similar in texture to flan.


Pernil

Pernil

A classic of the caribbean, a slow roasted pork shoulder, seasoned with oregano, garlic and pepper. The texture of the meat is so soft that it falls apart in your mouth, thanks to the many hours of cooking.This is the main dish for the holidays or big events like weddings and birthdays.


Tripleta

Tripleta is one of the most popular sandwiches in Puerto Rico! It is filled with three different types of meat: steak, pork and ham. (That’s the reason of it’s name, it means triple in Spanish). The sandwich also comes with fries, ketchup, mayonnaise, cheese, lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes and onions. These sandwiches are usually so large it would be nearly impossible to finish one by yourself!

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