Traditional Puerto Rican Dishes - Immerse Yourself In San Juan Culture

Author: Megha Agarwal on Sep 02,2021

San Juan is the charming capital city of Puerto Rico with endless pristine beaches, hospitable people, and lip-smacking cuisine. The cuisine here is as colorful as the city’s cobblestone streets and depicts the vibrancy of Puerto Rican culture. It is an amalgamation of ample cooking styles adopted from Spain, Africa, and Taino. When it comes to food, San Juan is one of the destinations that never fails to delight the taste buds of food lovers. It has several places that offer the opportunity to enjoy the authentic food of the city. Whether you are looking for something spicy or sweet and crunchy or a delicious cocktail, the city has got you covered. 


If you are stumped on which traditional Puerto Rican dishes to try on your San Juan vacation, here’s a list of the tastiest foods. No matter which dish you pick from the list, one thing is for sure, you won’t need to struggle to find delicious grub in the city. Keep this list handy and wander around the streets to stumble into some amazing restaurants and enjoy the authentic taste of the city. It’s time to sink your teeth into appetizing food on your San Juan vacation.


So, without further ado, let’s jump in.


Taste the Flavors of San Juan With The Following Food

- Mofongo

- Piña Colada

- Alcapurrias

- Tembleque

- Lechón

- Tostones

- Arroz con Gandules

- Quesito


1. Mofongo



The first dish that we recommend you to try on your San Juan vacation is Mofongo. It is a staple food prepared with tons of garlicky goodies, fried plantains, and chicharrones. With fried green plantains, this garlic spice-packed dish is filled with vegetables, shrimp, chicken, beef, or pig. Mofongo has everything, right from phenomenal flavor to incredible texture, making it one of the most loved dishes in the city. 


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2. Piña Colada


This is one item you must have tried several times. It is not a food but a perennially renowned cocktail that is worth mentioning on the list. A local bartender had invented this cocktail in San Juan who tried his best to bring in the island’s flavors with a mix of rum, pineapple juice, and coconut cream. You will be glad to know that you can find this delicious drink almost anywhere on your San Juan vacation. Make sure you try it at least once and trust us, you will order it again. 


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3. Alcapurrias



San Juan vacation is all about spending the majority of time on pristine beaches. And after sunbathing on the beach, enjoying some snacks is what everyone needs. Hence we have mentioned this traditional Puerto Rican dish on the list. It is a must-try snack that is basically a fried fritter made up of green bananas and grated yautia batter, or Xanthosoma. Inside the delicious batter, there’s crab, shrimp, or lobster, enhancing its flavors to the next level. 


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4. Tembleque


If you are craving something sweet on your San Juan vacation, then look no further than tembleque. It is a coconut pudding with jelly-like consistency but tastes rich and creamy in every bite you take. To make this dish tastier and more refreshing, cinnamon powder is sprinkled over it. Make sure you add Tembleque to your food tour and have a dessert experience like never before.


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5. Lechón



Apart from seafood, another popular element of Puerto Rican cuisine is Pork. People in the city love to order pork at family gatherings. Lechón is one such dish prepared with pork, and hence, it is pretty famous among the locals. This dish is prepared by roasting a whole pig over the fire for several hours. As a result, it becomes moist pork which is tender from the inside but crispy on the outside. Then the suckling pig is prepared into a delectable dish by seasoning it with loads of herbs and spices. Just as this description, it tastes divine and is a must-try on San Juan vacation.


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6. Tostones

Next on the list, we have Tostones, a traditional side dish made of unripe, hard, very green plantains. Plantains are chopped into thin slices and then covered in oil from both sides. Then sea salt is sprinkled over it and is enjoyed with meat which uplifts the taste buds' whole experience. You can enjoy Tostones with garlic mojo sauce as a dip or by spreading it over. No matter how you prefer to savor it, you must enjoy it on your San Juan vacation. Believe us, having it once will make you crave more and more. 


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7. Arroz con Gandules



There’s no way you can come back from San Juan vacation without trying Arroz con Gandules. It is Puerto Rico's national dish, a flavorful blend of rice, pigeon peas, and pork. All of these are then tossed in incredibly delectable sofrito sauce, making every grain of rice tastier. To our surprise, this dish is pretty simple to prepare. We highly recommend you try it on your vacation, and later you can also cook it once you come back.


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8. Quesito


Another great addition on the list of traditional dishes to try on San Juan vacation is Quesito. It is a perfect dish to start your day off. It is a Puerto Rican pastry that is prepared with dough and is in a cigar shape. Then it is filled with sweetened cream cheese and various fruit preserves. To make it enjoyable for everyone, it comes in multiple flavors. Some of the prominent flavors of Quesito that you will find in the city are guayaba, dulce de leche, salted caramel, and bacon. 


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Final Words

These are a few dishes that we have picked for you. After spending your whole day roaming around the city and exploring colonial architecture, sandy beaches, and rich heritage, these dishes will be a relaxing treat. So, without giving it more thought, plan a San Juan vacation and delight your taste buds with the best it has to offer. 



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