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5 Dishes You Must Try When Visiting Puerto Rico

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There are many reasons to visit Puerto Rico. From its beaches to its architectural beauty and year-round tropical weather, it’s one of the best destinations to visit any time of the year. Do you need another reason to book that ticket? Food! Our cuisine is a unique blend of our Taíno, Spanish and African roots. This combination leads to what we now know as Cocina Criolla (Creole). While there are many delicious foods to try, here we’ve rounded up our top 5 dishes you won’t want to miss!

1. Lechón – You could say lechón is our unofficial national dish. Meaning “roast pig,” it’s a whole pig roasted slowly on a spit. It’s served year-round but particularly common during the holidays, family events and gatherings. Even at Thanksgiving, lots of families swipe out the traditional turkey for some lechón. Pro tip: ask for “cuerito”!
– Spoon favorite: El Rancho de Apa

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2. Arroz con Gandules – Without a doubt, arroz con gandules is a staple in any Puerto Rican household. It’s a seasoned rice cooked with sofrito, pigeon peas, red peppers, and olives, indicative of its Spanish influence (the Spaniards first introduced olives to the island). Everyone has their twist on it; some add pork, some add plantain, but the results are always delicious.
– Spoon favorite: La Casita Blanca

 

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3. Quesito – If you’re like most of us and love a cup of coffee in the morning, consider a quesito to compliment your breakfast. Translating to “small cheese,” it consists of baked puff pastry twists filled with sweetened cream cheese. You may find them at local bakeries and coffee shops.
– Spoon favorite: Double Cake

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4. Mofongo – Hands down, one of our most popular dishes! So popular that you will most likely find it in any menu, from roadside kiosks to refined local eateries. Made from fried green plantains then mashed with garlic and salt, you can order it “stuffed” with steak, shrimp, chicken, mixed seafood, you name it. Swap the protein for sautéed veggies, and you got yourself an excellent vegan dish.
– Spoon favorite: El Guateque

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5. Alcapurrias – We have lots of fritters, but if one reigns supreme, it would be the alcapurria. They’re usually made with a batter of green plantains and stuffed with seasoned ground meat. Then, they are deep-fried to crispy, golden perfection. Most of the time they’re sold in a kiosk or road-side stand, making them a great option when you’re on your way to the beach. It pairs great with Medalla beer! Pro tip: ask for your alcapurria to be made and fried a-la-minute!
– Spoon favorite: Kiosko La Comay in Piñones

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By: Dorimar Rodriguez