To get a taste of authentic Puerto Rican cuisines, a visit to the capital city of San Juan is a must. Puerto Rican cuisine is an unparalleled blend of recipes, ingredients and culture. The food in Puerto Rico is similar to the Mexican, Cuban and Spanish cuisines. It is mostly complemented by papaya and cocoa, the typical regional ingredients here. Some of the famous cuisines that you should consider trying out while on your vacation to San Juan include Mofongo, Sancocho, Asopao, Lechón, Bacalaitos, Pasteles, and Arroz con Gandules. Let’s get an insight into all these unique Puerto Rican delicacies.
Mofongo is one of the most important cuisines of Puerto Rico. The dish is made from mashed plantains, fillings, and seasonings. The filling can have numerous choices including shrimp, pork, vegetables, seafood, or anything that you may desire. The seasoning includes olive oil and garlic. Mofongo is made into small balls and is usually served in a mortar or dipped in soup. This dish is available everywhere in Puerto Rico be it roadside stalls or famous restaurants in the island. This dish has many varieties and is really delicious to eat. The dish can be eaten during lunch or supper, and even as snack for late night party.
Sancocho is a famous dish in Puerto Rico. This is in fact a traditional soup prepared with many ingredients such as squash, potato, yucca, banana, and different kinds of vegetables, along with chickpeas, lentils, fish, chorizo sausage, pork and chicken. Sancocho is mostly prepared using beef stock, beef tips, and many types of starches, which are native to Puerto Rico and Africa. The yucca root is the best starch used to prepare the dish. The corn is also the best thing to make the stew.
Asopao is another popular Puerto Rican dish. It is essentially a preparation of chicken and rice, and is popularly called Puerto Rican gumbo or stew. This dish is available in most of the restaurants in the country and is an all time favorite of the Puerto Ricans. The dish forms a vital part of midnight meal on New Year’s Day for satisfying the hunger and boosting energy of the islanders. Asopao is available in many variations and can include one of more of the main ingredients such as chicken, shellfish, ham, pork, vegetables, etc. One famous low-cost version of this cuisine is known as Asopao de Gandules.
Arroz con Gandules
Arroz con Gandules is the national dish of Puerto Rico. This dish is created using rice and pigeon peas whose recipe has Caribbean origin; together with pork, ham, red peppers, olives, and chorizo whose recipe has Spanish origin; and seasoned with Puerto Rican’s secret sauce called sofrito. This dish is relished by the islanders during holidays or celebrations with family and friends. If you have a chance to visit San Juan do enjoy this delicacy. This dish is available on any restaurant of Puerto Rico.
Lechon is one of the popular dishes of Puerto Rico. Most Puerto Ricans consider it to be a national dish. It is also available in tropical places such as Cuba and Philippines. This slow roasted suckling pig dish is a special delicacy for Puerto Ricans, which is usually prepared during the festival season or holidays. This special dish is prepared after choosing a new born suckling pig two to six weeks old. It is prepared in a special way after stuffing it with vegetable and herbs such as lemongrass, onions, ginger and garlic. The pig is roasted above the hearth using a big stick. A lot of time goes into roasting. It is skewed and cooked for several hours over charcoal. Once it is finally roasted, the meat is quite succulent and is a delicious feast for the guests. If you are being invited to a lechon style dinner, then you must consider yourself to be lucky being a special guest for quite an eventful evening. You will be offered lots of Rum with this delicious meal in accompaniment to stories from locals and salsa music.
Bacalaitos or Fried Cod Fritters
Fritters or fried snacks are a smorgasbord of finger foods enjoyed by Puerto Ricans. These fritter dishes include Alcapurrias; Frituras; Cuchifritos; Almojabanas, rice fritter with cheese flavor; Bunuelos, fritter made from yam; and Bacalaitos, fritter with codfish flavor. You can relish on these fried snacks whenever you feel hungry in San Juan. These snacks are found all over the island. They are good to taste and quite reasonably priced. You do not need to be concerned about the calories while touring this place. Just forget your diet and enjoy the fritters!