Puerto Rican Foods

9 Traditional Puerto Rican Foods You Have to Try on Your Travels

Heading to Puerto Rico? Here are a few traditional Puerto Rican foods that you have to try before your trip is complete!

Puerto Rico is famous for a lot of things, from the country’s beautiful beaches to its lively music scene, to the delectable dishes.

Local recipes usually incorporate different types of meat, garlic, olive oil, and rice. Most notably, they also usually include the starchy regional staple that is the plantain.

The best way to describe the taste and texture of this unique ingredient is to compare it to a cross between a potato and a banana. Sounds yummy, right?

Likewise, the explosion of spice and flavor that Puerto Rican foods are packed full of are representative of the country’s vibrant culture – making the island’s distinctive dishes well worth a try.

If you’re lucky enough to travel to this fascinating and exciting country, here are nine traditional Puerto Rican dishes you must try. You may find the food to be a highlight of the experience to the island!

1. Mofongo

Mofongo is the unofficial national dish of Puerto Rican foods, the king of the cuisine.

This concoction is full of mashed plantains, seasoning, and an unlimited choice of fillings. Vegetables, shrimp, steak, pork, and seafood are all popular contenders, or you can mix and match.

If you’re a fan of mashed potato and plantain, you’ll adore mofongo. It’s Puerto Rican comfort food at its finest.

Find it in pretty much any Puerto Rican restaurant or a local food truck dished out to the public.

2. Mamposteao

Mamposteao is a rice dish packed full of green peppers, olive oil, cilantro, beans, tomato sauce, and onions.

If you fancy trying your hand at the recipe, this is one Puerto Rican food that’s pretty easy to make. Simply mix up the ingredients and cook slowly in one pan.

Like mofongo, mamposteao is available in most local restaurants and food trucks – you’ll be able to find it everywhere.

3. Bacalaitos

Bacalaitos in English is called fried codfish fritters. They’re concocted with boiled codfish that was previously shredded, de-boned, and skinned and a batter consisting of flour, adobo seasoning, baking powder, and water.

Another easy recipe to make, bacalaitos sizzle in a pan until fully cooked. Deliciously moreish, they’re the perfect snack to purchase from one of the many kiosks dotted throughout the island.

To find adobo seasoning and other Puerto Rican ingredients, check out these foods to purchase online.

4. Asopao

Asopao is a hearty rice stew filled with chicken, cooked vegetables, chicken broth, rice, and seasoning.

One of the best bits of finishing asopao is drinking the delicious meaty broth that’s leftover. Be sure not to throw it away – it’s an important part of the dish!

5. Arañitas

As we know, Puerto Rican traditional foods typically contain plantain, so here’s another renowned dish featuring the country’s favorite ingredient.

To make arañitas, green plantains are grated into tiny pieces and before being gathered into the shape of a bowl.  The grated bowl is then fried until cooked and is filled with a choice of meat.

6. Tostones

Tostones are one of the country’s most famous dishes and you guessed it – they feature green plantains, too.

To create tostones, plantains must be marinated in water and garlic, sliced, fried, and flattened using a tostonera. Then they’re fried once more until they’re nice and crispy.

Tostones are a great side snack and are traditionally served with a collection of dipping sauces. The most popular is a blend of ketchup and mayonnaise – called mayo-ketchup!

While yummy on their own, they’re perfect for dipping into plates of rice and beans.

7. Pasteles

Pasteles are one of the most famous Puerto Rican Christmas foods and go down a treat with families on the big day.

A true local specialty, pasteles can be compared with tamales and are traditionally created with green banana masa stuffed with stewed pork meat. On occasion, yuca or other root vegetables are added to the mix.

Depending on tastes, they can also be stuffed with chicken or bacalao which is salted cod.

With the rise of new food trends, there have even been some vegan versions served in restaurants recently. These healthy options are usually packed full of vegetables.

When ready to eat, the green banana leaves can be peeled off – but not eaten!

If you’re a fan of tamales, this is one dish you must try.

8. Tembleque

Not only do Puerto Rican locals dish up delicious savory meals, the desserts certainly shouldn’t go amiss either.

Tembleque is one of the most famous Puerto Rican desserts. It’s a form of coconut pudding deriving from its namesake – the word “tiembla” means shake. And that the dessert certainly does!

To create this silky coconut custard, you’ll need to cook and stir coconut, milk, corn-starch, salt, and sugar until the mixture is smooth and thick.

Then, refrigerate for up to 48 hours, if you have the time. You can refrigerate for a minimum of 3 hours, however the longer you cool it, the better the result!

Once the pudding is removed from the fridge, flip it out of the pan and add a topping of your choice. Simply scrumptious!

9. Arroz Con Dulce

Lastly, here’s another sweet treat that takes the form of a rice pudding.

Arron con dulce is crafted by soaking rice for a couple of hours with coconut cream or milk that was boiled twice with a variety of spices. Next, raisins are added to the mix before the rice is left to absorb the water in the pan and cool.

Finally, a dash of cinnamon is neatly sprinkled on top. Enjoy it chilled!

Puerto Rican Foods for Your Soul

These famous and scrumptious Puerto Rican foods are bound to leave you satisfied on your upcoming trip.

And if you’re not traveling to Puerto Rico? Not to worry, why not try your hand at cooking up these delicious dishes yourself?

Just remember that when preparing or eating any of these dishes, it’s important to note that the meat is often seasoned with Adobo and that the peel left by plantains and green banana leaves shouldn’t be consumed. This is even if they’re used in the cooking process!