Top 5 Traditional Puerto Rican Dishes

Dr. Morayma ReyesIf you have had the pleasure of enjoying Puerto Rican traditional dishes you will know too well the unique and eclectic  ingredients used to make these unforgettable meals. Although the island’s culture is deeply rooted in the Caribbean culture, its cuisine is distinguished enough to stand on its own. Below you will find a list of five traditional dishes that one can find almost everywhere in Puerto Rico:

1. Arroz con Gandules

This is a signature Puerto Rican dish that has become extremely popular throughout latin America and in the past few decades it has made its way to the Untied States as well. This meal is an easy combination of pigeon peas and it can be paired with pork, chorizo, ham, red peppers and even olives. Sofrito is a special sauce that is used to give this dish a little kick and differentiate it from your run of the mill rice and beans plate. In many communities, Arroz con Gandules is served during special occasions and around the holiday season. 

2. Lechón

Lechon is a pork dish that is traditional to Spain and it became popular to its colonial conquests around the world. This recipe is simple to prepare given that all it requires is a whole pig and charcoal. The slow roasted pig is served with a variety of dishes and is usually a staple meal during festivals and other national festivities. This beloved dish even has its own road in Guavate, Puerto Rico, known as the Ruta Del Lechon. 

3. Mofongo

This tasty and filling meal is a plantain based dish that is made of mashed friend plantains, broth, garlic, olive oil and pork bits and/or  bacon. An infusion of broth and vegetables, stewed chicken, shrimp and other protein is poured over the mofongo. This national dish can be found in any Puerto Rican restaurant and the variety in which it can be moderated can fulfill anyone’s diary restrictions. 

4. Asopao

Asopao is a savory dish that is a combination between a paella and soup. The hearty meal can be prepared with chicken, rice,  garden vegetables and a variety of seasonings that give it an extra kick for those who enjoy a spicy meal. This dish is perfect if you are looking for a light dinner that is also filling.

5. Fried Snacks 

This final entry is dedicated to a wide variety of fried foods that can be enjoyed as snacks or appetizers before a big family meal. Some of these snacks are capurrias or fried turnovers, or my favorite – almojábanas, which are cheese-flavored rice fritters.

The variety and colorfulness of Puerto Rican cuisine is not lost on foodies. The rich culture and bountiful ingredients give these meals a unique flavor that is not easily forgotten.

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