Don’t-Miss Dishes in San Juan
Heavily influenced by its Spanish, African, and indigenous Taino roots, Puerto Rican cuisine is a flavorful mix of all three, using ingredients found on the island. From classic mofongo to roasted pork, here are some of San Juan’s must-try dishes.
A classic Puerto Rican staple, mofongo is made from green plantains, which are fried, then mashed and seasoned generously with garlic and salt, and often stuffed with chicken, beef, seafood, or vegetables. Find mofongo just about everywhere, from food trucks to high-end restaurants.
Arroz con Gandules
Considered Puerto Rico’s national dish, arroz con gandules is made from white rice, cooked with pigeon peas, olives, capers, and sofrito, a cooking base made from aromatic ingredients that gives the dish its zesty flavor. Sometimes chorizo or pork is added to make the dish more substantial.
For celebrations and family gatherings, the dish of choice is lechón, suckling pig seasoned with herbs and spices and then roasted until the outside is crispy and the inside juicy and full of flavor. You don’t have to wait for a special occasion, though, and some of the best lechón can be found at roadside stalls.
A popular fast food, alcapurrias are deep-fried stuffed fritters. The outside is typically made from green plantains and yucca, while the stuffing is usually ground beef of pork. Find them at street stands or along the beach.
Asopao is a blend of rice and soup that’s similar to gumbo and can include chicken, seafood, or pork, alongside pigeon peas, olives, tomatoes, and a flavorful broth. Used to combat everything from a cold to a hangover, it’s Puerto Rican comfort food at its best. You can find it at most restaurants.
Often served as an appetizer or a side dish, tostones are made from thinly sliced plantains, which are coated in batter and fried, flattened, then fried again, Enjoy them dipped in mayo, ketchup, or mayo-ketchup, a blend of both with other spices.