One of biggest things I love about Puerto Rican cuisine is that it is a very different collection of ingredients, history, and flavors. The indigenous Taíno Indians, the conquering Spanish, and foreign African slaves have all played a role in what has become known as Comida Criolla. Even though the food of Puerto Rico has its history rooted in Island and Spanish flavors, throughout history it has slowly take on a distinct flavor all its own. Here is a short list of 4 of the most popular and historically classic Puerto Rican dishes.
Mofongo is by far the most popular and readily found dish in Puerto Rico. The dish is composed of a tasty and filling blend of diced plantains, island herbs spices and a practically unlimited varieties of fillings; shrimp, pork, steak, seafood and even vegetarian… no matter what kind of flavors you prefer, there is a mofongo for you! Mofongo can also be found anywhere on the island. Practically every Puerto Rican restaurant, from roadside dives to some of Puerto Rico’s most refined local restaurants, will all have their own “secret” recipe.
If you are a fan of pork then Puerto Rico is where you want to be. The Lechón, or Puerto Rican suckling pig roast is to Puerto Rico as Barbeque in America. People travel very far just to sample this delicacy. I know of a guy who actually started his vacation to Puerto Rico as a vegetarian and was a devout pork lover a week later. It really is that good!
3. Arroz con Gandules
If mofongo is he staple and most classical standard of Puerto Rico, arroz con gandules is the cotemporary favorite Pigeon peas and rice is flavored with garlic and green onions, but the island twist Puerto Ricans give to this Spanish classic is the secret sauce, sofrito. Arroz con gandules is usually made with pork, chorizo, ham, hot peppers and locally grown olives.
Most Americans can enjoy fond memories of mom’s chicken soup. In Puerto Rico however, they remember Sunday asopao. This is a Puerto Rican classic found on practically every Sunday lunch table on the island. It is a hearty soup made with lamb and rice. Asopao is more like a stew than a thin soup; there are endless types of ingredients in Asopao including potatoes, olives, tomatoes, chicken, lamb, beef, beans and practically anything else they can find to throw in.
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