Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer
Back to Blog

Explore Puerto Rican Traditional Foods

Explore Puerto Rican Traditional Foods

One of the best ways to enjoy Puerto Rican culture is through your taste buds! Puerto Rican traditional foods are a combination of local spices and ingredients with influences from Latin American, African, Spanish and Indigenous Taíno cultures on the island. Each bite tells the stories of the peoples who have come to this paradise before us. Whether you’re craving something sweet, spicy, or savory, these dishes are just a few of the traditional foods from Puerto Rico that are worth trying during your visit.

Enjoy Mofongo: a Savory Puerto Rican Food

If you only have time for one island dish — this is the one! Made from green plantains, chicharrones (fried pork), garlic, tomatoes, onions, and shrimp sauce, just looking at the mound of fried goodness will make your mouth water. Chicken broth, cilantro, butter, and other ingredients can be added making each experience of this hardy dish unique depending on where you try it.

a plate of food

The mashed plantain dough known as “fufu,” is derived from Africa. The term “mofongo” comes from a Angolan Kikongo term that means “a great amount of anything at all.” The Indigenous Taíno peoples also used a mashing technique to prepare plantains and the Spanish influence can be seen in the addition of diced onions, tomatoes, and chicharrones. Discover mofongo, a satisfying Puerto Rican food on a San Juan food tour.

Have Plantains Two Ways: Tostones and Amarillos

Not only do plantains grow abundantly on the island, they can also be used when they are unripe or ripened. Since this Puerto Rican staple was introduced to the island through enslaved African people, it has gone from being a food for the “lower class” to a nutrient-dense food for all. The starchy fruit is rich in fiber, vitamins A, C, B-6, and the minerals magnesium and potassium.

a bunch of green bananas

This traditional food from Puerto Rico can be prepared when they are still green and unripened as tostones. These flat, twice-fried coins are crispy, salty, and served with a garlicky sauce known as mojo. If you want your plantains sweet, amarillos are yellow or ripened plantains that are fried until they’re golden brown. Both plantain dishes make great snacks or serve as a great side dish to rice, beans, and chicken. Make sure to stop and try some on your next food tour in San Juan.

Celebrate any Occasion with Puerto Rico Pasteles

Looking for a special treat to celebrate your trip to Puerto Rico? Especially if you’re visiting around the holidays, pasteles are a Puerto Rican food you don’t want to miss! Wrapped like presents in banana leaves, the delicious masa is made from root vegetables, such as taro and malanga, and green plantains and bananas. It’s then filled with specialty meats such as pork shoulder. These tasty ingredients are cooked with herbs and spices over the course of two days to make a delicious treat for holidays such as Christmas and Día de Los Reyes (Three Kings Day). The results are a delight for the senses!

food on a table

Save Room for a Sweet Scoop of Arroz con Dulce

Once a dish made exclusively for royalty, arroz con dulce in Puerto Rico can be found everywhere around the holidays. The sweet rice is cooked in coconut milk and has a rich taste from the added raisins and spices including ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and other warm flavors.

a cup of coffee on a table

A descendant of rice pudding, arroz con dulce uses the Puerto Rican supply of coconuts to add a delicious creamy twist on the classic. Rice pudding is believed to have originated in either China or India and made its way to Spain and then Puerto Rico through the chain of colonization. Make sure to enjoy a sweet bite on your next visit!

Is your mouth watering yet? Time to book a food tour in San Juan to experience these incredible Puerto Rican traditional foods for yourself!