Norbert Figueroa a RoamRight Blog Author

Delicious Must Try Foods in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rican cuisine has its roots in the cooking traditions and practices of Europe (Spain), Africa and the native Taínos. CT

Puerto Rican cuisine, also known as Comida Criolla, is an amalgamation of cooking traditions and practices from Spanish, African, and native Taino cuisine.  This triad form the core of the basic ingredients and techniques used for Puerto Rican cooking, all passed down from generation to generation. 

This sounds like a delicious gastronomic mix, right?  Well, let me tell you that it is!  So, here’s my recommendation of must-try foods when in Puerto Rico.


I’m starting the list with Mofongo because this is THE must-try food of Puerto Rico. Mofongo is a fried dish made with green plantains mashed together with a concoction of garlic, olive oil, and pork cracklings or bits of bacon – and often served with broth.

The fried plantains are filled with anything you can imagine like pork, beef, chicken, seafood, vegetables, shrimp and more.

Mofongo can be found in any roadside shack, local restaurants, and even in high-end eateries. Mofongo is the crowning dish of Puerto Rican cuisine, and once you taste it, you’ll see why.


The word lechón means roasted suckling pig, but in Puerto Rico it means that you’re going to have a delicious meal! Lechón is an irresistible delicacy that is often prepared during the holidays, but really Puerto Ricans love to enjoy this succulent dish all year round.

You must not miss the Ruta del Lechón (Lechón route) in Guavate, where they serve some of the best lechón you’ll find on the entire island.

Arroz con Habichuelas and Arroz con Gandules

Arroz con gandules, or yellow rice with pigeon peas and pork, is not just from Puerto Rico, but what makes Puerto Rican arroz con gandules so special is the “secret seasoning”, which we call sofrito. In addition to pork, this dish is also typically made with ham, chorizo, red peppers, and olives; and is often served with chicken or beef.

On the other hand there’s arroz con habichuelas (rice and beans), which every Puerto Rican eats probably once a day. Again, imagine your traditional rice and beans but with more seasoning! It is delicious!


Asopao is a rice soup that can be best described as a cross between soup and paella. This is an easy, hearty one-dish meal with juicy chicken thighs or shrimp, diced lean ham, rice, and assorted seasonings. Ask any Puerto Rican about this dish and they will tell you how it reminds them of their Mom.  It’s true… but don’t worry, you don’t need to find anyone’s mom to cook it; you can find asopao in any self-respecting traditional restaurant around the island.

Alcapurrias, Bacalaítos, Piononos, and other fritter or fried snacks.

Go to any popular beach and you’ll find there a food cart or several roadside restaurants serving frituras.  These are traditional fried snacks that include alcapurrias (a kind of fried turnover made of yuca, green banana or green plantain with seasoned meat), almojábanas (cheese-flavored rice fritters), bacalaítos (codfish-flavored fritters), and buñuelos (yam fritters), among many others. 

They might be greasy, but they are just as delicious, so you must try them all!


If you see pasteles around, it means we are near celebrating Christmas. Pasteles are a cherished culinary recipe Puerto Ricans love to cook at home during the holidays.  They are like tamales, with the masa (mixture) consisting of one or more frequently used ingredients, like grated green banana, green plantain, yautía, potato, and/or pumpkins. The mixture is wrapped in banana leaves and then boiled. This dish is believed to have been made by the native Tainos of the island.


This one dish is one of my all time favorites! Imagine making lasagna, but instead of using pasta, you use plantains. Got it?  This is the perfect sweet and salty blend of sweet plantains, meat, cheese and sauce.

Which of these dishes sounds the best to you?

Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.


About the Author

Norbert Figueroa

Norbert Figueroa, a RoamRight Blog Author Norbert Figueroa is an architect who hit the pause button on his career in 2011 to do a round the world trip. He's been blogging for over three years at, where he shares his travel experiences, budget travel tips, and a good dose of world architecture. From hiking Mount Kilimanjaro to diving with great white sharks, he is always on the search of adrenaline and adventure. Norbert is originally from Puerto Rico and he is currently based in Milan, Italy... when not roaming around the world, that is. He has traveled to more than 80 countries in 5 continents and his goal is to travel to all 193 U.N. recognized countries. Follow Norbert on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus.

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