So my family and I had a wonderful time exploring the flavors of Puerto Rico. When I think back on our eating escapades I remember seafood, fresh fruit and MOFONGO!
I didn’t make a conscious effort, but I believe I had seafood at every meal we had out. In general, I try and stick to that rule since that means I get to control where my meat and poultry come from. It’s an even better idea in Puerto Rico when most of the seafood is freshly caught from the surrounding waters.
Fruit, Fruit, Everywhere
It was so easy to get your daily dose of Vitamin C in Puerto Rico. The fruit was gorgeous and delicious. One of my favorites was mango we picked up from the local supermarket. You had to pick around and find a ripe fruit, but my mom cut up slices for an afternoon snack after the pool and it was sweet heaven. Fruit was everywhere! You could buy Coco Frio (cold coconut) on the roadsides stands.
We found some in during our drive through El Yunque Rainforest. You need to have the right tools. Our vendor uses a machete to cut off the top. Then all you need is a straw to reach the refreshing and electrolyte-filled coconut water. Best of all, you find local fruit featured prominently in their fruity drinks where they add coconut, mangos, apples, citrus and more to homemade sangria, mojitos and margaritas.
Another great way to sample the local fare is to hit the kiosk food stands strewn throughout Puerto Rico. We were lucky to be close to a popular set of kioskos in Luquillo. While we had been told there would be mostly fried food options, we had one of our best meals in at Tapas 13 where we were able to sample small plates of yucca sticks, spicy garlic shrimp and calamari. Walking through the stands was an adventure for the senses and we felt like locals partaking in this rustic experience.
And for the grand finale! Mofongo!
I was told this was a must-have dish for our Puerto Rican experience. I had heard of the dish, but had never tasted it. I’m glad my first time was authentic. We hit a beachside restaurant and I ordered my first Mofongo Relleno de Camarones (Stuffed Mofongo with Shrimp). Mofongo is made by mashing plantains (typically fried first to soften) and then filling it with a thick soup of protein, garlic and vegetables. I was momentarily disappointed when my plate arrived with only two shrimp on top only to “crack” into the mofongo to find a dozen shrimp swimming inside a garlickly broth. It was delicious and fresh – reinforced by the plantain delivery they received during our meal.
I arrived home a little sleep deprived and very well fed. I’d recommend a trip to this tropical destination that is closer than Hawaii and where you don’t need to use your U.S. passport…just be sure you bring an adventurous appetite!
Safe summer travels to everyone!