Puerto Rico is a place where you can experience so much more than just beaches, sunshine, and a relaxed, laid-back lifestyle. Although tourists are drawn to it for its beautiful weather and abundant stretches of sandy beaches, there is something that sets it apart from the other islands in the Caribbean: its food. Much like the upbeat music that the island is known for, its food is also wonderfully vibrant.
Puerto Rico, owing to its incredibly geographical and cultural diversity, has a food scene like no other. Traditional Puerto Rican food is heavily influenced by its African, European, and indigenous roots. You will also find touches of America in the spam and Vienna sausages.
While there is surely no dearth of unique and delicious food for you to fuel up on when here, we have made a list of a few traditional dishes that you must never miss out on. Read on to find out what they are.
Plantains came to Puerto Rico from West Africa and it features in a lot of traditional dishes, including mofongo. Green plantain is the main ingredient here, which is accompanied by fish or meat. The plantain is cut, fried, crushed, and then molded into the shape of a bowl, which is then filled with the meat. If the plantain is kept whole, the meat is placed around it. You will find mofongo in many food trucks and restaurants in San Juan, like Raices.
When in Puerto Rico, you cannot miss out on tostones, another dish made using plantains. One of the most popular food items across the island, tostones are made by double frying thinly sliced pieces of plantain that are covered in batter. They come with an assortment of dipping sauces, but the best combination is tostones and mayoketchup, which is, as the name suggests, a blend of mayonnaise and ketchup.
Puerto Rico during the holidays offers a smorgasbord of distinct flavors, and one of the most love dishes is pasteles. Traditionally served at a Christmas dinner, pasteles are made with plantains and typically filled with a meat of some kind, usually pork. Some might say that they are similar to tamales.
Satisfy your sweet tooth with a generous serving of tembleque, which is a coconut milk custard. In San Juan, you can find several bakeries, or panadería as they are known locally, and enjoy this decadent dessert. Topped with cinnamon and coconut flakes, they make for the perfect finish touch to your gastronomic journey.
San Juan is home to some of the finest restaurants in Puerto Rico. Whether you are looking to indulge in a traditional fare or dig your forks into some good ol’ steak, the city has everything that you can possibly want. San Juan restaurants like Raices are the best places to enjoy the authentic flavors of the island in a homely and comfortable ambiance. When in San Juan, don’t forget to book your stay at Fortaleza Suites, nestled in the heart of the old city.