Puerto Rico is one of the most popular islands in the Caribbean due to its unique culture, landscape, and food. While there are so many ways to explore this country, one of the most effective is through its dishes. With influences from African, Spanish, and Taino, the island’s dishes are some of the most appealing and diverse in the Caribbean. The fact that it is also U.S. territory means that many of its local dishes must have been influenced by American cultures to create unique dishes that can only be seen on the island. To get an unforgettable experience of this incredibly diverse and unique culture, here are some of the local dishes not to miss out on.

10 Arroz Con Gandules

Arroz Con Gandules is a dish always present on every occasion from restaurants to birthdays and festivals in Puerto Rico. Often regarded as the island’s national dish, Arroz Con Gandules is a dish that consists of rice, pigeon peas, tomato paste, and other ingredients that combine to bring out a unique color and taste to the dish.

9 Pernil

Pernil is a simple but delicious meal of roasted pork garnished with ingredients that include - garlic, onion, herbs, and spices. It is one of the most beloved foods in Puerto Rico and is especially seen during festive periods or holidays although it can be gotten from restaurants all year round. Pernil is usually served alongside other popular Puerto Rican dishes such as rice, beans, and plantain.

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8 Pasteles

As a beloved Puerto Rican traditional dish, Pasteles is bound to be on the menu at any Christmas dinner. In fact, it is a tradition for Puerto Rican families to make pasteles during Christmas. The dish is made up of green plantain masa stuffed with meat or pork and wrapped in banana leaves. Pastels can be served alongside rice or plantain and are often eaten as a side dish.

7 Tostones

Peurto Ricans are big fans of plantain which is why it has now become the key ingredient in one of the most popular side dishes on the Island - Tostones. The dish is basically green plantain fried more than once and squashed with flat tools to make it look golden and taste crunchy. Tostones are usually served as appetizers or alongside the main course.

6 Mofongo

Mofongo is one of the numerous dishes in Puerto Rico having green plantain as the main food item. To prepare this meal, the plantain is sliced, fried, crushed, and molded into the desired shape - usually the shape of the bowl. Other ingredients such as pork, garlic, and other vegetables are then added to spice up the dish. Mofongo may be served with sauce and can be eaten as a side or main dish.

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5 Rellenos De Papa

Not all Puerto Rican dishes are made of plantain after all and Rellenos de Papa proves that. The dish is made up of mashed potatoes stuffed with beef which is then molded into a ball and fried to a crispy golden delicacy that is often eaten as an appetizer alongside a sauce of choice.

4 Asopao De Pollo

Asopao de Pollo is a Puerto Rican stew that consists of rice, chicken, vegetables, and lots of seasoning. The meal can be made with different ingredients including pork and beef but chicken is the favorite for Puerto Rican people. Classic versions of this meal also feature tomato sauce, oregano, and peas which combine to make it more like a soup dish that can be served with fried plantain.

3 Arroz Con Dulce

Arroz Con Dulce Or “Sweet rice” in Spanish, is a creamy rice pudding made by mixing soaked rice with coconut milk, sugar, and spices, and then cooking the mixture until it becomes creamy. The dish is more common among the locals during holidays but can also be gotten from restaurants or food trucks around the island at any time.

2 Ensalada De Pulpo

Puerto Rico is a mecca for seafood and Ensalada De Pulpo is one of the best seafood to try while on the island. This sumptuous dish is an octopus salad that comes from the combination of cooked octopus, cider vinegar, olive oil, lime juice, and chopped vegetables such as - onions, tomatoes, cucumbers. While it is a well-known dish on the island, Ensalada De Pulpo is more popular during lent when Catholics abstain from meat. Nevertheless, it is available in restaurants all year round. Besides, its preparation process is pretty easy to follow means one can easily prepare the meal from home.

1 Tembleque

Tembleque is one of the numerous unique desserts popular among Puerto Ricans. It is a coconut pudding prepared by mixing coconut milk, sugar, and cornstarch, and boiling the solution for approximately 5 minutes until it is thick. It is then cooled and served with cinnamon garnishes at the top. One unique characteristic of Tembleque is that it wiggles when served and this explains why its name translates to “shaky or wiggly.”

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