Top Delicious Puerto Rican Foods

Cooking process. Hot movement. Fresh vegetables falling into the pan with meat, cooking concept on wooden flag background of Puerto Rico

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Puerto Rican cuisine has been influenced by an array of cultures including Taino (Indian-Caribbean), Spanish, and African. Although Puerto Rican cooking is somewhat similar to both Spanish and other Latin American cuisine, it is a unique tasty blend of influences, using indigenous seasonings and ingredients. International food magazine Saveur hails Puerto Rico as the land of “plantains, pork, and sofrito”, but locals describe the cuisine as a créole (cocina criolla”) that blends culinary traditions from around the world.

Taíno, European, African, and lately American, influences are a directly attached to Puerto Rico’s historical & cultural roots, first as a Spanish colony and after the Spanish-American War, a U.S. territory. Popular ingredients that grow natively in the country include coriander, papaya, cacao, and plantains which are large, banana-like fruits with either savory green flesh or sweet yellow. Europeans brought beef, pork, rice, wheat, and olive oil to the island. While Spanish traders brought African slaves who prepared meals with sugarcane, taro, and yucca.

Lunch and dinner generally begin with sizzling-hot appetizers such as “bacalaitos” (crunchy cod fritters), surullitos (sweet plump cornmeal fingers) or “empanadillas” (turnovers filled with lobster, crab, conch, or beef). Soups are also a popular beginning for meals on Puerto Rico.

Not really a soup, the most traditional Puerto Rican dish is “asopao”, made with either chicken or shellfish. One well-known version, consumed when the food budget runs low, is “asopao de gandules” (pigeon peas). Every Puerto Rican chef has his or her own recipe for “asopao”. “Asopao de pollo” (chicken asopao) takes a whole chicken, which is then flavored with spices such as oregano, garlic, and paprika, along with salt, cured ham, green peppers, chile peppers, onions, cilantro, olives, tomatoes, chorizos, and pimientos. For a final touch, green peas or asparagus might be added. Mmmmmm!!!!

But, what about these spectacular flavor? The aroma that wafts from kitchens throughout Puerto Rico comes from “adobo and sofrito”, or blends of herbs and spices that give many of the native foods their distinctive taste and color. “Adobo”, made by crushing together peppercorns, oregano, garlic, salt, olive oil, and lime juice or vinegar, is rubbed into meats before they are roasted. “Sofrito”, a potpourri of onions, garlic, coriander, and peppers browned in either olive oil or land and colored with “achiote” (annatoo seeds), which imparts the bright-yellow color to the island’s rice, soups, and stews.

Desserts usually include some form of “flan” (custard). Equally traditional would be a portion of guava jelly with “queso blanco” (white cheese). Chefs take the bountiful harvest of Puerto Rican fruits and create any number of desserts, including orange layer cake, banana cupcakes and guava cake. The most delicious dessert may be a freshly prepared fruit cocktail. The pumpkin, which grows in abundance on Puerto Rico, is used not only to flavor soups and as a side vegetable, but also to make the succulent base of a traditional Puerto Rican cake. Similarly, the sweet potato is used both as a side vegetable and in making a regional sweet-potato cake.

Finish your meal with strong, black, aromatic Puerto Rican coffee, which has been produced in the island’s high-altitude interior for more than 300 years. Originally imported from the nearby Dominican Republic, coffee is still among the island’s exports and is a suitable ending for any well-presented meal. Because the island does not produce wine, it is entirely proper to order a cold “cerveza” (beer) before even looking at the menu or if you have enough space, after your meal. Rum is the national drink, and you can buy it in almost any shade. Puerto Rico is the world’s leading rum producer, almost 80% of the rum consumed in the United States hails from the island.

As you can see, today, Puerto Rican food has evolved into a blend of flavors and spices that reflects the diversity of its roots. Those visiting the island for the first time may be unsure of what they’re eating or nervous that all the dishes will be spicy. Although, there are many more “boricua” menu delicacies, to help you, this list identify a Top 10 that you should taste. Enjoy and “buen provecho”.

Top 10 - Delicious Puerto Rican Food

“Frituras” – Fried Delicacies

Puerto Ricans love their deep-fried dishes ('frituras') and if you visit the countryside, you’ll find roadside kiosks where locals enjoy different variations of 'frituras'. You can start your island culinary trip by savoring "alcapurrias",…
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Lechón Asado – Suculent Pig

"Lechón asado" is Puerto Rico’s unofficial national dish. It’s served year-round but is particularly prevalent during the holidays - especially Christmas and Three Kings Day, marked on Jan. 6. But it’s not just roasted pig, because "Lechón…
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Puerto Rican Coffee

Historians’ accounts vary regarding how coffee came to Puerto Rico. Some say that coffee was introduced to Puerto Rico by the Spanish which found the Island to be the perfect harvesting ground for said crop. Others argue that the Arabica…
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Mofongo

The story of 100 Vinos began on September 15, 2008, commemorating the 100 years of the distributor Quintana Hermanos and its work in Puerto Rico in the distribution of wines and gourmet products sector. Their gastronomy offer is aimed in a…
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Asopao de Pollo

"Asopao de Pollo", or Chicken and Rice Gumbo, is more than a soup, yet not quite a stew. The Puerto Rican "asopao de pollo", a cross between soup and paella, is an easy, hearty one-dish meal featuring juicy chicken thighs, diced lean ham,…
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Puerto Rican Pastries

Pastries are a food group in Puerto Rico, so the island has many "panaderías" or bakeries. Try an assortment of guayaba pastelitos, bizcochos and danish. Pick a bakery that has a covered outside dining area where you can relish in the…
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Piña Colada

The "piña colada" is a sweet cocktail made with rum, cream of coconut or coconut milk and pineapple juice, usually served either blended or shaken with ice. It may be garnished with either a pineapple wedge, maraschino cherry, or both. The…
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Popular Side Dishes

Puerto Ricans have an obsession with fried food and pork. Most meals include fried appetizers, tostones being the island favorite, with rice and bean, stews, soups and other meals. "Mofongo" with fried pork with stews and soups. Small bit…
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Tripleta Sandwich

The Tripleta is Puerto Rico’s answer to the Cuban sandwich, but we think it is better because it combines chicken, ham and beef. It comes on a slightly sweet roll similar to a French Baguette, slathered with ketchup, mustard and mayo then…
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