Puerto Rican cuisine

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Puerto Rican Cuisine)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Arroz con gandules, widely regarded as "Puerto Rico national dish"[1][2][3]

Puerto Rican cuisine has its roots in the cooking traditions and practices of Europe (mostly Spain), Africa and the native Taínos. Since the latter part of the 19th century, Puerto Rican cuisine can be found in several other countries.


Puerto Rican cuisine has been influenced by an array of cultures including Taino Arawak, Spanish, and African.[4] Although Puerto Rican cooking is somewhat similar to both Spanish and other Latin American cuisine, it reflects a unique blend of influences, using indigenous seasonings and ingredients. Locals call their cuisine cocina criolla. By the end of the nineteenth century, the traditional Puerto Rican cuisine was well established. By 1848 the first restaurant, La Mallorquina, opened in Old San Juan.[5] El Cocinero Puerto-Riqueño o Formulario, the island's first cookbook, was published in 1849.[6]

Taino influences in Puerto Rican cuisine[edit]

See: Native American cuisine

Cocina criolla can be traced back to African, Taino and Spanish inhabitants of the island.

From the diet of the Taíno (culturally related with the Maya and Carib peoples of Central America and the Caribbean) and Arawak people come many tropical roots and tubers (collectively called viandas) like yautía (Xanthosoma) and especially Yuca. Ajicito or cachucha pepper, a very mild chili known for it smokiness, recao/culantro (spiny leaf coriander), sarsaparilla, avocado, varieties of zamia, pimienta (allspice), achiote (annatto), peppers, ají caballero (the hottest pepper native to Puerto Rico), peanuts, guava, pineapple, jicacos (cocoplum), quenepas (mamoncillo), batata, lerenes (Guinea arrowroot), calabaza (West Indian pumpkin), and guanabanas (soursop). The Taínos also grew varieties of beans and some maíz (corn/maize), but maíz was not as dominant in their cooking as it was for the peoples on the mainland of Mesoamerica. This is due to the frequent hurricanes that Puerto Rico experiences, which destroy crops of maíz, allowing more safeguarded plants like yuca conucos (hills of cassava grown together) to flourish. Maíz when used was frequently made into cornmeal and then into guanime. Food was cooked on a barbecue grill made of logs over a pit of flame. To the Taínos this was known as barbacoa. They feasted on over forty varieties of fish. Anthropologists have found the bones and shells of the grouper, parrot fish, sturgeon, shark, lobster, oyster, conch, whelk and crab in their 'middens' or garbage heaps. Besides seafood, the Taínos also ate small birds such as Parrots and water birds, snails, iguanas, toads, snakes and Conies. Fish was eaten mainly but was also occasionally enjoyed cooked on a barbacoa with meats.

Spanish/European influence[edit]

See: Spanish cuisine

Puerto Rican cuisine has several recipes for flan, including coffee, coconut cream, breadfruit, pineapple, pumpkin, carrot, cheese and many more.

Spanish/European influence is also prominent in Puerto Rican cuisine. Melon, radish, celeriac (apio), celery, peas, cumin, onions, garlic, cilantro (using plant, root, and seeds), mint, parsley, thyme, tarragon, sage, basil, marjoram, oregano, orégano brujo, bayleaves, grapes, eggplant, olives, and capers. Livestock came from Europe, including horses, rabbit, cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, and chickens all came to Puerto Rico among other fruits, spices, and herbs. Over time, new crops were introduced to the Puerto Rico, including wheat, rice, barley, oats, coffee, sugar cane, citrus fruits, and Kentucky bluegrass. Early Dutch, French, and Italian immigrants influenced not only the culture but Puerto Rican cooking as well. This great variety of traditions came together to form La Cocina Criolla. Spanish dishes are still a part of the island's traditional cooking.

  • Anisette – A anise flavored Liqueur. In Puerto Rico it is distinguished by the presence of anise twigs and crystallized sugar inside each bottle serving as a natural sweetener fermented with rum.
  • Arroz con Dulce – Rice pudding has spread threw the Caribbean and Latin America threw Europe mainly threw the Spanish and Portuguese. In Puerto Rico rice pudding is made with rice, sugar, coconut milk, milk, clove, cinnamon, ginger, star anise, rum, and raisins. There are other variations that include purees added such as squash, sweet plantains, batata, yuca, and ripe breadfruit. Cream cheese and pistachios are popular and a rice pudding made with additional egg, lemon peel, and cream cooked just like crème brûlée.
  • Arroz con Leche – Sweet rice pudding with milk is the original recipe brought over by the Spanish. It is simply done with rice, sugar, milk, and raisins served with cinnamon, fruit, and nuts on top. It has less sugar sometimes no sugar at all and severd with honey, eaten hot for breakfast.
  • Buñuelos – By 1859 there where more then twenty recipe for buñuelos in Puerto Rico.[citation needed] Some originating from Puerto Rico and some adopted from Spain, Portugal, and various parts of Latin America. Buñuelos are a staple on Christmas and can be served for breakfast.
  • Flan – A milk and carmel custard very popular threw out Puerto Rico. There are several ways on making this dish. Some are unique to Puerto Rico such as breadfruit flan, sesame seeds milk among others.
  • Paella – Spanish rice cooked with seafood, meat, and vegetables.
  • Pork, such as pernil – Every part of the pork is used. Pork is the most important meat protein on the island. Lard, bacon, chorizo, butifarra, longaniza, blood sausage, chicharrón, salchichón (a salami brought over by the German), salted pig feet and tail, ham hock, ham, important part of arroz con gandules, pasteles, mofongo, and other traditional dishes.

African influence[edit]

See: African cuisine

Coconuts, coffee (brought by the Arabs and Corsos to Yauco from Kafa, Ethiopia), okra, taro (malanga), tamarind, yams (ñame), sesame seeds, gandules (pigeon peas, plantains, many varieties of bananas, other root vegetables and Guinea hen, all came to Puerto Rico from, or at least through, Africa. African slaves also introduced the deep-frying of food, such as cuchifritos.[7]African cooking and dishes have a strong bound on the island's history. The most beloved dish are of African decent such as Afro-Puerto Rican pastlese and probably the most two icon dishes mofongo and tostones.

  • Cazuela – A curtless pie made in clay pots lined with banana leaves cooked on a grill. The filling contains batata, squash, lard, sugar, spices, raisins, coconut milk, and rice flour. The dish is most likely from Loíza, Puerto Rico with African ties. Threw the migration of cazuela threw Puerto Rico other tubers were introduced but always cooked with spices, sugar, rice flour, and coconut milk.
  • Mofongo – Mashed plantains filled with spices and pork with broth on the side. It's a clear influence on fufu from Africa but with some changes making it a symbol of Puerto Rican fusion.
  • MondongoTripe stew with chickpeas, ham, squash, viandas, calf feet and tail.
  • Pasteles – Puerto Rican tamales can be traced back to the island before the invasion of the Spanish. It is possible Taíno used yuca, squash, and other root vegetables. Escape slaves who lived beside Taínos hiding from Europeans introduced green bananas, banana leaves, plantains, and other root vegetables to pastlese.

United States influence[edit]

See: Cuisine of the United States

The US influence on the way Puerto Ricans cook their meals came about after Puerto Rico became a territory of the United States as a result of the Treaty of Paris of 1898. The most significant influence has to do with how people fry food. The early Spaniards brought olive oil for cooking and frying, but importing it from Spain made it very expensive, and cooks on the island shifted over to lard, which could be produced locally. For 50 to 60 years, corn oil produced in the United States took the place of lard for making cuchifritos.[citation needed]

Latin American influence[edit]

Although Puerto Rican cooking is somewhat similar to both Spanish and other Latin American cuisines, it has a unique blend of influences.

Other foods native to Latin America were brought to the island with the Spanish trade, such as cocoa, tomatoes, chayote, papaya, bell peppers and vanilla from Mexico and Central America. Potatoes and passion fruit were also brought over by the Spanish or Portuguese from Peru and Brazil.


The topography of the main island is divided into three major regions: the mountainous region, which includes the Cordillera Central, Sierra de Luquillo, Sierra de Cayey and Sierra Bermeja; the coastal plains; and the northern karst region. Every regional and municipality has its unique gastronomic traditions.[citation needed]


Arecibo is the biggest municipality in Puerto Rico by area and is located on the northern coast. Arecibo is known[by whom?] for its heavy use of cumin and coriander seeds making dishes smokey and flavorful. In the river of Río Grande de Arecibo whitebait called cetí is caught.[8] These small fish are used in mofongo, alcapurrias, empanadas, but more famously battered and deep fried. One restaurant in Arecibo is known for a pastele filled with cetí. These pasteles are made of yuca, yautía, squash and coconut milk, wrapped in banana leaf and grilled.

Basic ingredients[edit]

Seafood and shellfish[edit]

Grilled yellow snapper with green papaya salad and tostones

On certain coastal towns of the island, such as Luquillo, Fajardo, and Cabo Rojo, seafood is quite popular, although much of it is imported. Only a tiny number of fishermen ply the waters off Puerto Rico today, and their catch never leaves their seacoast towns.[citation needed] The fact that the island sits next to the deepest part of the Atlantic means there is no wide continental shelf to foster a rich offshore fishery; neither are there any large rivers to dump extra nutrients into the sea that could build up a fish population.

A Snapper plate at a restaurant in San Sebastian, Puerto Rico
  • Cetí – A type of whitebait found in Arecibo.
  • Trunkfish/Chapín
  • Red snapper/Chillo or Pargo – Snapper is a favorite among the locals. There are countless recipes in Puerto Rico for snapper. Marinated in adobo mojado, coated with cornstarch and deep-fried whole. Pan seared snapper is typically paired with mojito isleño. Grilled snapper literally consists of grill snapper stuffed with avocado leaves with grilled salsa made with fruit, peppers, onions, tomatoes, avocado, garlic, herbs, chilies, and citrus. The fish is paired with coconut rice, lime, and tostones. Snapper is an important protein in Caldo Santo. A soup made from coconut milk, vendors, sofríto, olives, and a verity of seafood. Stewed in sofrito, lemon, chilies, ginger, and coconut milk and stuffed in to arepas de coco. Ceviche de chillo is popular in San Juan. It can be baked where it's stuffed with chopped sofrito, mofongo and wrapped in banana leaf.
  • Clams
  • Cod
  • Conch/Carrucho
  • Dried and salted cod/Bacalao
  • Marlin
  • Mahi-mahi/Dorado – This fish is eaten mainly as tartare and ceviche.
  • Mussel
  • Octopus/Pulpo – Octopus salad is simple and refreshing. Octopus is also used in empanadas and stewed in coconut milk where it's stuffed in arepas de coco. Octopus is used as a stuffing for alcapurrias de yuca.
  • Oysters
  • Salmon
  • Shrimp/Camarones
  • Spiny lobster/Langosta – Most commonly caught in the surrounding waters.
  • Squid
  • Tuna fish
  • Crab/Jueyes


There are a variety of hot sauces made from sweet plantains, papaya, tamarind, coconut, mango, different types of chilies and herbs made threw out the island. Some can be purchased online and stores and some are locally made by restaurants owners.

  • Ajilimójili – A very garlicky hot and spicy salsa.
  • Mojito isleño – A sauce served with fish or shellfish.
  • Mojo criollo – A herb sauce of finely chopped cilantro or parsley, lots garlic, sour orange, vinegar, and olive oil. Onions and butter are sometimes also added. It is typically served with tostones and roasted meat.
  • Pique verde boricua – Lime hot sauce with much cilantro, culantro, green chilies, green cubanelle peppers, green bell peppers and sometimes avocados.
  • Pique criollo – Vinegar based hot condiment.

Seasoning blends[edit]

Real Boricua Hot Sauce
Pique (Puerto Rican Hot Sauce)

Puerto Rican cooking has a large range of spices and seasoning due mostly to influence, this makes Puerto Rico one of the best in Latin fusion cooking. Caribbean and other curries can be found but not as common as sazón and adobo. Traditional cooking on the island uses more fresh and local ingredients such as citrus to make mojo and mojito isleño and especially fresh herbs, vegetables and peppers to make recaíto and sofrito.[9] Star anise, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and other sweet spices are mainly used for drinks and desserts.

Puerto Rican dishes are well seasoned with combinations of flavorful spices. The base of many Puerto Rican main dishes involves sofrito, similar to the mirepoix of French cooking, or the "trinity" of Creole cooking. A proper sofrito is a sauté of freshly ground garlic, tomatoes, onions, recao/culantro, cilantro, red peppers, cachucha and cubanelle peppers. Sofrito is traditionally cooked with olive oil or annatto oil, tocino (bacon), salted pork and cured ham. A mix of stuffed olives and capers called alcaparrado are usually added with spices such as bay leaf, sazón and adobo.[10]

  • Aceite de achiote – Annatto (bixa orellana) oil. The most simple recipe is annatto seeds simmered on a low flame with oil of choice or lard. Thyme, garlic, and bayleaves can be added to simmer as well. Once oil is tinted red with a slight yellow and orange color pods are then discarded. The oil is refrigerated up to two months.
  • Adobo mojado – Garlic, salt, black pepper, olive oil, orégano brujo, vinegar or citrus juice or both.
  • Adobo seco – Garlic powder, onion powder, dry orégano brujo, salt, black pepper, and sometimes dried citrus zest.
  • Alcaparrado – A mix of green olives, peppers, and capers. This mix is typically used in stews.
  • Recaíto – A green cooking base mix of cilantro, yellow onion, culantro, roasted garlic, green bell pepper, and ajicitos.
  • Sazón – A seasoning mix consisting of coriander seeds, garlic powder, cumin, salt and annatto powder. Paprika and turmeric can be added. Sour orange and olive oil can be mixed in where it more of a paste and used as a marinated for meat and fish.
  • Sofrito – A mixture of ajicitos, cubanelle peppers, tomatoes, roasted pimientos pepper, cilantro, yellow onion, culantro, and garlic.

Puerto Rican dishes[edit]

Arroz con Gandules, widely regarded as Puerto Rico's main national dish

Although Puerto Rican diets can vary greatly from day to day and residents tend to indulge in a variety of cuisines, there are some markedly similar patterns to daily meals. Commonly breakfast is simple and small, consisting of coffee and a pastry such as quesitos, a flaky puff pastry filled with a sweet cheese. Dinners almost invariably include a meat, rice and beans.[4] This typical dinner structure leaves room for a plethora of options with choices of meat and rice preparation varying greatly. Traditionally, Puerto Ricans indulge in a wide array of nationalistic dishes as described below.

Thanksgiving dishes[edit]

When Thanksgiving was first celebrated, Puerto Rico was not a part of the United States and did not recognize the holiday.[citation needed] After officially becoming a commonwealth, Thanksgiving was eagerly accepted by the people as their own and has become one of the most celebrated vacations (holidays) of the year. As many regions of the Continental United States have, they've also put their own twist on this classic American tradition.

Most American dishes have been adopted for this special day. Side dishes such as cornbread, roasted yams, mashed potatoes with gravy, hard apple cider, and cranberry sauce are a part of a Puerto Rican Thanksgiving menu.

  • Dulce – The fusion of American mainland and Puerto Rican food can be clearly seen in Thanksgiving desserts. Puerto Rican desserts use the same traditional ingredients as American holiday desserts including pumpkin, yams, and sweet potatoes. Classic sweets are infused with sweet viandas. Flan de calabasas (squash flan), Tortitas de Calabaza (pumpkin tarts), Cazuela (a pie made with pumpkin, sweet potato, coconut, and sometimes carrots), Barriguitas de Vieja (deep-fried sweet pumpkin fritters made with coconut milk and spices), Cheese cake with tropical fruit, Buñuelos de Calabasas o platáno (pumpkin or sweet plantains doughnuts), and Budín de Pan y calabasas (bread pudding made from squash bread).[11]

Christmas dishes[edit]

Pasteles are a favorite staple during the Christmas festivities

Puerto Rican culture can be seen and felt all year-round, but it is on its greatest display during Christmas when people celebrate the traditional aguinaldo and parrandas – Puerto Rico's version of carol singing. Puerto Ricans celebrate what is probably the world's longest Christmas. The festivities get underway on 23 November and last until the end of January when the Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián take place. Puerto Rican food is a main part of this celebration. Christmas expresses the best flavors of Puerto Rico with staple foods, textures, and tradition. Christmas food in Puerto Rico is meant to accommodate every palate.

  • Pasteles – For many Puerto Rican families, the quintessential holiday season dish is pasteles ("pies"), usually not a sweet pastry or cake, but a soft dough-like mass wrapped in a banana or plantain leaf and boiled, and in the center chopped meat, shellfish, chicken, raisins, spices, capers, olives, sofrito, and often garbanzo beans. Puerto Rican pasteles are made from either green bananas or starchy tropical roots. The wrapper in a Puerto Rican pastel is a banana leaf.
  • Dulce – Sweets are common in Puerto Rican cuisine. During the holidays, the most popular are desserts such as Arroz con dulce rice pudding made with milk, coconut milk, spices, ginger, raisins, and rum. Budín de Pan (bread pudding), Bienmesabe - little yellow cakes soaked in coconut cream, Brazo Gitano - Puerto Rican style sponge cake with cream and / or fruit filling, Buñuelos de viento - Puerto Rican wind puffs soaked in a vanilla, lemon, and sugar syrup, Natilla - (spice-milk custard), Tembleque (coconut pudding), Flan (egg custard), Flancocho - cake mix, cream cheese, caramel, and egg custard mix backed together using then flan method, Bizcocho de Ron (rum cake), Mantecaditos - Puerto Rican shortbread cookies, Polvorones - a crunchy cookie with a dusty sweet cinnamon exterior, Turrón de Ajónjolí - a toasted sesame seed bar, bound together by honey and caramelized brown sugar, Mampostiales - very thick, gooey candy bar of caramelized brown sugar and coconut chips, challenging to chew and with a strong, almost molasses-like flavor, Dulce de cassabanana - musk cucumber cooked in syrup topped with walnuts and sour cream on the side, pastelillos de guayaba (guava pastries), Besitos de Coco (coconut kisses), and Tarta de Guayaba (guava tarts).[12]


Throughout the Caribbean and most of Latin America, it is a common practice to eat stews, fried plantains, rice, beans, flat breads wrapped with fish and boiled mashed plantains with eggs for breakfast. Puerto Rico has adopted a more traditional American breakfast menu including pancakes, French toast, bacon, omelet, breakfast sausage, cold cereals, and other favorites.

Along with the traditional breakfast favorites, Puerto Rico has added their own flair to the table. The most typical breakfast among the older crowd is coffee with bread, butter, and Jam.[citation needed]

  • Plátanos maduros o Batatas asadas – Sweet plantains or batata (type of sweet potato) baked with spices and served with eggs. Sweet plantains are sometimes mashed with milk and butter.

Lunch and dinner[edit]

Piña Colada

Lunch and dinner in Puerto Rico is not particularly spicy, but sweet-sour combinations are popular. Vinegar, sour orange, and lime juice lend a sour touch while dried or fresh fruits add a sweet balance to dishes. Adobo, sofríto and annatto are used in most dishes. Fast food and diners are common for a quick lunch. Food trucks parked on the side of the street that serve sandwiches, churrasco, juices, and soft drinks. The tropical heat has not stopped Puerto Ricans from enjoying a good hot soup, usually with tostones, bread, or slices of avocado on top. Some fritters, like almojábanas and yuca con mojo among others, are served with rice, beans, and meat or fish. Slow cooked recaíto and tomato-based stews are a staple in Puerto Rican cooking, served with a side of white rice, salad, and usually something fried like mofongo. Women can be seen in streets, on beaches, and sides of the roads frying a variety of fritters like alcapurrias and bacalaítos. Juices, piña colada, hotchata and sodas can also be brought at these locations.

  • Albondigón – Puerto Rican style meatloaf. What makes Puerto Rican meatloaf interesting is that bean, potatoes and a hard-boild egg is put in the middle. It also contains other ingredients depending on recipe.
  • Arroz y habichuelas – Rice, invariably accompanied by beans (arroz con habichuelas) or gandules (pigeon peas), is often served as a meal by itself in cheap canteens, and is often considered a stereotype for Puerto Ricans. It's the dish Puerto Ricans feel most nostalgic for overseas and not as bland as it sounds: bean are richly stewed with pork, potatoes, olives, capers, squash, recaíto, spices, broth, and tomato sauce, before being poured over the rice. Arroz junto is a one-pot yellow-rice meat and beans dish. Coconut rice with fish and arroz con pollo. Pegao de arroz or pegao is the crusty rice left over at the bottom of the pot after cooking it has the most flavor. Pegao is usually eaten with beans and meat. Pegao with other ingredients are made to make granitos (rice and cheese fritter balls) and other fritters.
  • Chicharrón de pollo – Small chucks of fried chicken. Traditionally the chicken would be marinated over night in lemon juice, rum, and seasoning. It is then tossed in a seasoned batter and fried.
  • Empanizado or Empanado – Thinly sliced breaded and floured steak, rabbit, turkey, chicken, or veal with peppers, capers, and onions.
  • GuisadoBraised meat or fish is quite a favorite on the island. Meat or fish is seared in a pot with annatto oil. Ham and salted pork are common to add flavor and thicken the stew. Recaíto, olives, capers, potatoes, carrots, cumin, coriander seeds, pepper, bay leaves, orégano, stock or beer with water are basic ingredients for guisados. Garnished with sweet peas and poured over white rice or mofongo. Pot roast is known as carne mechada (braised beef eye round stuffed with chorizo or ham).
  • Fricasé – Hearty and spicy chicken, beef, turkey, rabbit, or goat braised in sofrito, butter and olive oil. Ingredients are almost the same as guisadaos except wine, chills and raisins are added. Potatoes aren't used the thicken instead flour is used.
  • Mamposteao – This is a fried rice that contains many ingredients. Day old rice is sauteed with soy sauce, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, garlic, beans, bacon, and chicarrón. There are many other recipes with diced squash, sweet plantains, shrimp, eggs, chicken, longaniza, stewed beans, garnished with aioli, cilantro, lemon, grated cheese, avocado, and scallions.
  • Picadillo a la Puertorriqueña – Puerto Rican style ground meat used in fritters but can be served with rice and on the side.

Breads, pastries, sweets, and desserts[edit]

  • Alfajor – Cassava spiced cookies.
  • Brazo de gitano – Rolled sponge cake filled with guava jam.
  • Dulce de Leche – In Puerto Rico dulce de leche is commonly made with key lime peels or with added coconut milk.
  • Gofio – A sweet cornmeal powder snack. Cormeal is mixed with sugar and poured in to a small colorful cone cup. There are many flavours such as coconut powder, cocoa powder, fruit powder, sesame seeds, and cinnamon.
  • Limber – Most limbers are milk, egg, and coconut cream base with added fruit flavors and spices. They are frozen in plastic cup or made into popsicles.
  • Mazamorra – A fresh corn porridge made with star anise, lime peels, coconut milk, and other spices.


Parcha, passion fruit, is often made into passion fruit juice

Puerto Rico has a lush tropical climate and due to this fruits, sugar, and coffee grown wild. Coffee is the start of most Puerto Rican homes usually enjoyed with milk and sugar. Fresh fruit drinks and smoothies are typical in restaurants, stands, and homes. There are many drinks that include spices such as coquito, ajonjolí, and mavi. Soft drinks are enjoyed Coco Rico (a company from Puerto Rico that created and produces tropical fruit flavored soft drinks), Kola Champagne, and Malta.

Coconut with straw at restaurant in Esperanza, Vieques

Rum is the islands national drink and over 70% of the rum in the U.S. comes from Puerto Rico. Puerto Rican rum is the biggest and best rum-producing nations in the world. Puerto Rican rum is considered the second best quality in the world after Cuban rum.

  • Chocolate Caliente – Hot chocolate made with coco, vanilla, milk, spices, small amount of edam cheese, and topped with whipped cream.[13]
  • Choco-coco – Cocoa powder and bitter sweet chocolate cooked with coconut milk, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and clove. The drink is usually garnished with whipped cream, coconut flakes, dulce de leche and chopped nuts of choice.
  • Coquito - drink traditionally of the holiday season. Ingredients include: cream of coconut, evaporated milk, condensed milk, white rum, cinnamon and vanilla.
  • Frappe tropical – Passion fruit juice, coconut cream, banana, and chunks of pineapple blended.
  • Piragua – Shaved ice dessert, shaped like a pyramid, covered with fruit flavored syrup.
  • Refresco de AvenaOatmeal drink made with toasted oatmeal, milk, ginger, orange peels, cinnamon, cloves, brown sugar, and vanilla.


The Luquillo kiosks (or kioskos) are a much loved part of Puerto Rico.[citation needed] Everywhere in Puerto Rico, rustic stalls displaying all kinds fritters under heat lamps or behind a glass pane. Kiosks, are a much-frequented, time-honored, and integral part to a day at the beach and the culinary culture of the island. Fresh octopus and conch salad are frequently seen. Much larger kiosks serve hamburgers, local/Caribbean fusion, Thai, Italian, Mexican and even Peruvian food. This mixing of the new cuisine and the classic Puerto Rican food. Alcoholic beverage are a big part of kiosks with most kiosks having a signature drink.

  • Alcapurrias – Fritters that are usually made with a masa mixture of eddoe (yautía) and green bananas (guineos verdes) or yuca, and are stuffed with either a meat (pino) filling or with crab, shrimp or lobster.
  • Arepas or Yaniclecas (from Johnnycake) – The flour flatbread distinct from Puerto Rico. Arepas are usually stuffed with meat, seafood, cheese, rolled or sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.
  • Bacalaítos – Bacalaítos are the codfish fritters from Puerto Rico. Other types of codfish fritters are common throughout the Latin Caribbean world and Spain. They're a staple food at many kiosks.
  • Empanadilla and pastelillo – Deep-fried turnovers filled with meat, seafood, vegetables, cheese, or fruit paste.
  • Papa rellena – A popular Peruvian potato balls fritter stuffed with meat.
  • Piononos – Piononos are mashed sweet plantain patties filled with picadillo, or seasoned ground beef, and cheese.
  • Sorullos – The cornmeal equivalent of mozzarella sticks, except that they're rather fatter and shorter. They're often made with cheese.

Puerto Rican food outside Puerto Rico[edit]

Cuchifritos (carnitas) in New York
Jibarito and rice in Chicago
  • Cuchifritos – In New York, cuchifritos are quite popular. Cuchifritos, often known as "Puerto Rican soul food" includes a variety of dishes, including, but not limited to: morcilla (blood sausage), chicharron (fried pork skin), patitas (pork feet), masitas (fried porkmeat), and various other parts of the pig prepared in different ways.
  • Jibarito (Plaintain Sandwich) – In Chicago, El Jibarito is a popular dish.[14] The word jíbaro in Puerto Rico means a man from the countryside, especially a small landowner or humble farmer from far up in the mountains. Typically served with Puerto Rican yellow rice, Jibaritos consist of a meat along with mayonnaise, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and onions, all sandwiched between a fried plantain, known as a canoa (canoe). In the early 20th century, bread made from wheat (which would have to be imported) was expensive out in the mountain towns of the Cordillera Central, and jíbaros were made from plantains which are still grown there on the steep hillsides. The version introduced to Chicago was originally made with skirt steak, but today it can be found in versions made with chicken, roast pork, ham, shrimp and even the vegetarian option tofu is available.[15]


  • Alfredo Ayala - was recognized as the father of Puerto Rican modern cuisine[16]
  • Doreen Colondres - chef, television presenter, food writer and sommelier.
  • Luis Antonio Cosme – Famous Puerto Rican actor and television chef
  • Giovanna Huyke – Famous television chef
  • Dora Romano – author of "Cocine Conmigo[17]" written in 1972
  • Daisy Martinez – author of Daisy Cooks: Latin Flavors That Will Rock Your World written in 2005 and Daisy: Morning, Noon and Night written in * of Daisy Cooks! on PBS and ¡Viva Daisy! on the food network
  • Maria Perez – author of Tropical Cooking Made Easy [18] written in 2007


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Reporter's Notebook. York Daily Record (York, Pennsylvania). 15 December 2003. Page 35. Accessed 24 January 2021.
  2. ^ El Gusto Boricua en el Sur de la Florida. Yined Ramírez-Hendrix. El Nuevo Herald (Miami, Florida). 27 July 2011. Page D12. Accessed 24 January 2021.
  3. ^ Sofrito, imprescindible para latinos. Viviana Caraballo. El Nuevo Herald (Miami, Florida). 6 January 1999. p. 19. Accessed 24 January 2021.
  4. ^ a b Albala, Ken (2011). Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia. Greenwood. p. 656 – via Temple University.
  5. ^ Porter, Darwin; Prince, Danforth (June 25, 2007). Frommer's Portable Puerto Rico. Wiley. ISBN 9780470100523.
  6. ^ Ortiz, Yvonne. A Taste of Puerto Rico: Traditional and New Dishes from the Puerto Rican Community. Penguin group, 1997. P. 3
  7. ^ "A slice of Puerto Rican history". The Salt Lake Tribune.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "Historia del Cetí en Puerto Rico y el Caribe". foodiespr.com (in Spanish). February 3, 2015. Retrieved August 25, 2019.
  9. ^ "The ultimate Puerto Rican food guide". Explore Parts Unknown. October 1, 2017. Retrieved August 25, 2019.
  10. ^ Taylor, David (June 5, 2020). "Legendary Puerto Rican Cookbook Cocina Criolla begins with many details & Sofrito!". Hispanic Food Network. Retrieved June 22, 2020.
  11. ^ Ortiz Cuadra, Cruz Miguel (2013). Eating Puerto Rico: A History of Food, Culture, and Identity. Latin America in Translation/en Traducción/em Tradução. University of North Carolina Press. p. 82. ISBN 978-1-4696-0882-2. Retrieved October 12, 2019.
  12. ^ "Comfort food like none other". La Salita Cafe. September 6, 2014. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  13. ^ Halpern, Ashlea (April 30, 2014). "18 Things to Eat, Buy and Do in Puerto Rico - Casa Cortés ChocoBar". Bon Appetit. Condé Nast.
  14. ^ "Jibarito Sandwich: What You Need To Know". Retrieved April 28, 2016.
  15. ^ Bizzari, Amy (2016). Iconic Chicago Dishes, Drinks and Desserts. Arcadia. pp. 46–53. ISBN 9781467135511.
  16. ^ Solí, Por Yaira; Escudero, s; Vocero, El (November 14, 2016). "Fallece un 'boomer' ilustre: chef Alfredo Ayala". El Vocero de Puerto Rico (in Spanish). Retrieved November 18, 2020.
  17. ^ Romano, Dora R. de (1972). Cocine conmigo (in Spanish). ISBN 9788439910138.
  18. ^ Perez, Maria (2007). Tropical Cooking Made Easy. Hillcrest Publishing Group. ISBN 9781934248607.

External links[edit]