There are plenty of tasty dishes to try in Old San Juan. From mofongo (mashed fried plantains) to a packed tripleta and everything in between. So take a stroll through the streets of the ancient town and stop at any local spot for a taste of the real thing. And if you’re short of ideas, here are some of the tastiest Puerto Rican foods.
Some may argue that Puerto Rican cuisine is more of plantain or rice. But, as locals who eat Puerto Rican meals daily will tell you, you can’t get enough of a delicious mofongo or tostones,
Best Puerto Rican foods
This list of Puerto Rican foods covers some of the finest and most popular Puerto Rican meals, although you could dine in the territory for a lifetime and never run out of new foods to try.
Mofongo is one of many Puerto Rican staples that can be found in almost any place. It’s created with mashed fried plantains, garlicky deliciousness, and chicharrones (fried hog skin).
It’s frequently served as a side dish alongside pork or chicken. The foundation of the mofongo must remain soft in order to fully appreciate the crispiness of the fried pork skin.
If it’s prepared like that, it’s unquestionably the best dish in San Juan. Fortunately, you can find it almost any place in the city and give it a shot.
With countless coffee bean plantations that dot the island of Puerto Rico, you can be sure to receive a great cup of coffee, no matter where you travel.
Before you explore the city, start with a hot cup of coffee. While you wait for the caffeine to sink in and wake you up following a late night out in San Juan, savor the smooth, sweet combination.
You can also have your coffee with a crispy, flaky breakfast sandwich or a fresh-from-the-oven pastry. It will be great either way! Enjoy your coffee outside or in a hip cafe with the locals.
If you’re searching for a giant sandwich, a tripleta is the way to go. This Puerto Rican classic is typically cooked with chicken, ham, and beef – all three!
It’s the ideal late-night (or early-morning) snack to help you recover from a night of excessive drinking. As a result, the best places to find this gigantic marvel are late-night food trucks or bakeries.
The street food has more than three meats. It can be stuffed with Swiss cheese, mayonnaise, tomatoes, lettuce, ketchup, cabbage, onions, and potato sticks, among other things.
If you want more crunch, ask the chef to grill your bread. This will give you the most tasty, drippy, meaty, cheesy dinner you’ve ever had.
4. Pina Coladas
After a hot afternoon of sightseeing, treat yourself to an ice-cold, frosty pina colada.
Since 1978, these have been the national drink of the island and can be found almost anywhere in bars, restaurants, and even roadside stalls and can be taken with or without rum.
It’s refreshing and will certainly hit the spot.
5. Arroz con Gandules
No Puerto Rican meal is complete without arroz con gandules, a rice dish prepared with pigeon peas and seasoned with sofrito.
This dish is common in Puerto Rican households and graces the table during festive occasions, bringing people together.
Lechón, or slow-roasted pork, is a centerpiece of celebrations and gatherings. The pork is marinated with a blend of spices, including garlic, oregano, and sour orange, then roasted on a spit.
The result is tender meat with crispy skin.
Tostones are tasty, twice-fried plantains that can be eaten as a sweet snack or side dish.
They’re crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, and they’re often served with a side of garlicky dipping sauce or a sprinkle of salt.
Pasteles are a cherished holiday dish that brings families together for a joyful cooking experience.
These tamale-like parcels are prepared with a mixture of grated green bananas and root vegetables, filled with a delecteble stew of meat, and wrapped in banana leaves.
Begin your day on the right foot with a quesito. The warm, crunchy, flaky pastry is generally but not always loaded with cheese. Guayaba (guava), salted caramel, dulce de leche, and even bacon can be used as flavors.
The deep-fried delicacy is filled with spiced paste and cream cheese before being placed in a deep fryer to ensure that every bite has the ideal amount of crunch. Add it to your Old San Juan food tour and sample every flavor.
Alcapurrias, like many of these other meals, are usually sold at roadside stalls.
The fried fritter is produced with a batter of green bananas and Xanthosoma, or grated yautia, in Puerto Rico. To get its exquisite flavor, it is usually packed with shrimp, crab, or lobster, then deep-fried.
Cuchifritos, which are stuffed with almojabanas, pork, which are cheese-filled rice flour fritters, and bunuelos, which are yam fritters, are all available if you’re feeling brave (or just particularly hungry).
Take them with you to any of San Juan’s beaches for a great meal. You can pick some up on the way and enjoy them while basking in the sun (try pairing it with a pina colada or beer for a truly Puerto Rican experience).
Bacalaitos are simply fried salt cod fritters that look like pancakes and are a greasy, gratifying snack for seafood fans. After being salted and cooked or left overnight, the cod is shredded and combined with flour, milk, or water.
The batter is seasoned with sofrito and cumin, among other things. Serve with an ice-cold local beer and dipped in hot sauce. It is without a doubt, one of the finest dishes in San Juan.
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Sofrito is the foundation for Puerto Rican cooking.
This blend of onions, peppers, garlic, cilantro, and culantro is sautéed to create a base for various dishes, adding depth to the island’s cuisine.
Pernil is a dish that requires patience and love. A marinated pork shoulder is slow-roasted until it’s tender and falls apart effortlessly.
The result is a lump of soft and tasty meat that’s often served with rice, beans, and a side of sweet plantains.
No holiday season in Puerto Rico is complete without a glass of coquito.
This creamy coconut eggnog is prepared with spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, with a touch of rum that warms the tongue and brings people together.
15. Asopao De Pollo
Sometimes you simply want something tasty and hot to warm you up, and asopao de pollo is the island’s version of traditional chicken soup. This stew, prepared with chicken, rice, green olives, peas, and tomatoes, is the perfect comfort food.
What’s the trick? The dish, like most Puerto Rican meals, has a sofrito foundation, which gives it the taste that it’s known for. On Sundays, this is a favorite dish in Puerto Rico.
A fantastic way to fix your weekend! It’s on almost every restaurant menu in Old San Juan, and it’s one of the tastiest Puerto Rican food you will find.
You can’t go to a new town without sampling something sweet, and San Juan has plenty of dessert options to round out your food tour. Tembleque, which translates as “wiggly,” is a coconut pudding with a jelly-like feel that is rich and creamy.
The beautiful thing about this dish is that it is not difficult to prepare, so if you enjoy it when you taste it in Puerto Rico, you can prepare it at home. You only need milk, sugar, and cornstarch.
Just keep in mind that the sweet coconut milk is the centerpiece of this light dessert, and you’ll create something genuinely exceptional.
17. Flan De Queso
Flan de queso is a combination of caramel custard and cheesecake. Eggs, evaporated milk, condensed milk, sugar, and cream cheese are the basic ingredients of traditional Puerto Rican flan.
It’s typically vanilla-flavored and topped with homemade caramel sauce, but there are several versions of this popular sweet delicacy that include coconut, chocolate, and even Nutella.
If caramel sauce isn’t your thing, try pairing it with fresh fruit and cream.
18. Tres Leches
While tres leches, or three kinds of milk cake, are common in many Latin American countries, Puerto Ricans have taken it to new heights.
It’s typically created with a light sponge cake soaked in a blend of sweetened condensed milk, whole milk, and evaporated milk and topped with whipped cream, but in Puerto Rico, coconut milk is usually substituted for whole milk to give it a more island flavor.
If that isn’t enough island flavor for you, get a coquito tres leches cake, which is not just prepared with three types of milk but is also soaked in Puerto Rican rum, which makes it one of the best Puerto Rican foods in San Juan.
19. Mallorca Bread
If you want something sweeter for breakfast, pair your coffee with a piece of Mallorca sweet bread for a delicious start to your day.
The delightful dessert, which has a circular design similar to a snail shell, is made by combining sugar, eggs, flour, and butter in a dough.
While the dessert originated on the island after which it is named, it is now available in bakeries throughout Old San Juan and should be included in your Old San Juan food adventure.
This breakfast roll, topped with powdered sugar, is anything but ordinary.
20. Amarillos (Fried Sweet Plantains)
If you enjoy fried foods with a sweet taste, this is a must-try Puerto Rican-style appetizer. Amarillos, also known as maduros, are the sweeter brothers of the previously stated spicy tostones.
Amarillos are distinguished by the fact that they are prepared with ripe plantains. Ripe plantains are yellow with black specks instead of green.
The only ingredients required for this recipe are ripe plantain and oil in a skillet. Plantains are customarily sliced into diagonal slices.
They are then fried in the skillet till golden brown after the oil is hot. The sugars in the ripe plantain are caramelized by the hot oil, resulting in a crispy and delicious outer layer.
Puerto Rican cuisine is a celebration of history, culture, and community. It’s no surprise that these 20 finest Puerto Rican foods have caught the hearts and taste buds of people all over the world.
Each taste transports you to the magical island of Puerto Rico, whether you’re savoring the crispy sweetness of tostones or indulging in the creamy delight of coquito.