Food in Puerto Rico: 10 Things To Eat And Drink

If you think food in Puerto Rico is all rice and beans, think again friends! Yes, the abichuelas are omnipresent. But embarking on a culinary adventure in Puerto Rico means diving into a distinct cuisine that can hold its own. Every bite and sip tells a story of the island’s turbulent history, cultural influences, and the Borinqueños’ unparalleled passion for food.

food and drink in puerto rico

From fried street food treats and comforting classics to refreshing libations, Puerto Rico offers an array of gastronomic treasures that will leave you craving more. Join us as we explore 10 of the must-try foods and drinks that define the essence of this delicious Caribbean paradise.

1. Mofongo:

Prepare your taste buds for a flavor explosion with mofongo, Puerto Rico’s beloved national dish. The base of this hearty dish is mashed green plantains, garlic, and sometimes chicharrones. The mash is formed into a ball and often stuffed with chicken, seafood, or stewed vegetables.

You can fairly easily find vegetarian, pescatarian and even vegan varieties all around San Juan. Other variations of mofongo include yuca mofongo and trifongo, made with green plantain, sweet plantain, and yuca.


2. Frituras such as Alcapurrias:

Alcapurrias are a popular street food made from a “masa” of green bananas and yautia, deep-fried with ground beef or crab meat inside. Other stuffings include chicken, fish, octopus, conch, or other types of seafood. You can sometimes find veggie options, too. Look for these torpedo-shaped fritters in open-air, beachside restaurants and street shacks. Pair them with a cold beer (see number 10!)

alcapurrias food in puerto rico
frituras puerto rico food

3. Piña Colada:

Cool off from the Caribbean sun with a refreshing piñacolada, Puerto Rico’s signature cocktail. Made with rum, coconut cream, and pineapple juice, this tropical libation is the perfect blend of sweet and tangy flavors. It’s typically served over ice and garnished with a slice of fresh pineapple.

Sip your way to paradise as you indulge in this quintessential island beverage. The invention claim is made by the Barrachina bar in central San Juan, as well as by the Hilton Caribe hotel. Try both and let us know which one you liked better!

Book Hilton Caribe in San Juan for your Puerto Rico vacation!

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4. Tostones and Amarillos:

Crispy fried plantain slices are a staple of Puerto Rican cuisine. These golden-brown delights are a savory snack or side dish, often paired with a tangy dipping sauce such as garlic mojo or mayoketchup. Crisp on the outside and tender on the inside, tostones are made using green plantains, which are more savory.

Amarillos, on the other hand, are ripe plantains cut into pieces and fried until the outside is almost blackened, and the inside is soft and sweet.

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5. Bacalaitos:

Experience the flavors of the sea with bacalaitos. These savory salt cod fritters that are a beloved street food in Puerto Rico. Made from a batter of salted codfish, flour, and spices, these crispy fritters are fried to golden perfection, offering a delightful blend of textures and flavors. Enjoy them hot and fresh from the fryer for an authentic taste of Puerto Rican cuisine.

Book a Puerto Rico hotel on Book guided Puerto Rico food tours via Savor the Sunset: Old San Juan Walk and Food Tour or Authentic Flavors of San Juan Food Tour.

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6. Coquito:

Celebrate the festive spirit of Puerto Rico with a glass of coquito. A creamy coconut-based cocktail that is a cherished holiday tradition. Similar to eggnog but with a tropical twist, coquito consists of coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, rum, and a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg. The result is a decadent and indulgent drink that is perfect for sipping by the fire or under the stars.

7. Puerto Rican Desserts:

Aside from coquito, there is also a selection of other traditional indulgent desserts in Puerto Rico. The list includes tembleque, a silky coconut custard; and arroz con dulce, rice pudding with cinnamon and raisins. Other traditional desserts include flan, a vanilla custard cake; and casquitos de guayaba, guava paste paired with local white cheese. Look no further than Kasalta to try them all in one place.

We also have to mention the famous mallorcas i.e. the beloved powdered sugar-covered pastries. You can find these at the aptly named Cafetería Mallorca in San Juan’s Old Town. It’s the perfect locals-only breakfast spot. Pro tip: order them savory style as grilled cheese – you can thank us later!

8. Pasteles:

A true local specialty, pasteles resemble tamales. They are traditionally made with green banana masa stuffed with chicken or bacalao (salted cod). You can easily find vegetarian and vegan versions too. To form the pastelmasa is pressed onto a plantain leaf, folded, tied with string and covered in parchment paper. The pasteles are then boiled, unwrapped, and served.

pasteles food in puerto rico


9. Stuffed Avocados:

Aguacates rellenos are not strictly speaking a traditional Puerto Rican dish. However, stuffed avocados have been having somewhat of a moment all around San Juan and beyond. Indeed, they were some of the most memorable meals while eating our way around Puerto Rico. Just look at those pictures!

stuffed avocado puerto rico

Also, they are very vegetarian and vegan friendly. And a hearty stuffed avo will more than make up to the veggie travelers that they’ll be missing out on the traditional Puerto Rican lechon (roast pork).

10. Medalla Beer:

And to wash it all down with (especially the frituras)… add a bottle of cold Medalla. While listening to Calma by Pedro Capo. That’s the ultimate vacation food and drink – and music – pairing. Oh, and while we’re at it, here’s a song pairing for your pinacoladas. Salut!

medalla beer puerto rico

Food in Puerto Rico

From savory delights to sweet indulgences, the culinary landscape of Puerto Rico is as diverse and vibrant as the island itself. Whether you’re exploring the bustling streets of San Juan or unwinding on one of its many quaint beaches, be sure to treat your taste buds to the unique flavors of Puerto Rican cuisine.

So, grab a fork, raise a glass, and let the food in Puerto Rico transport you to gastro paradise. ¡Buen provecho!

Have you been to Puerto Rico? What was your favorite dish? Comment below or tag @eightyflavors in your Puerto Rico food posts!

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Book a Puerto Rico hotel on Book guided food tours via Savor the Sunset: Old San Juan Walk and Food Tour or Authentic Flavors of San Juan Food Tour.

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