Why is Puerto Rico also a paradise for foodies?

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Why is Puerto Rico also a paradise for foodies?
Source: Discover Puerto Rico
October 27, 2022

With limitless creativity and constant transformation, Puerto Rican cuisine has evolved into a true gastronomic paradise


Puerto Rico's culinary scene is more thriving and vibrant than ever, it can be experienced from San Juan to Cabo Rojo, Rincón to Fajardo, and all points in between.

From chinchorros (roadside or beach kiosk) to haute cuisine, the island's cooks and chefs are reinventing those delicious granny recipes and pampering locals and visitors through food. You will be able to savor that Boricua passion while following your cravings (and curiosity) throughout the island.

Here are 5 reasons why Puerto Rico is a true paradise for lovers of good life and food:

culinary traditions
¡Puerto rico es mucho más que arroz y habichuelas! La gastronomía es una parte esencial de la cultura de Puerto Rico, que mezcla la herencia de elementos de la cocina española, africana y taína. Tu viaje a la isla no estará completo si no pruebas platillos básicos como el mofongo, hecho de plátanos verdes fritos; los tostones, ruedas dobles de plátano fritas; los pasteles, se parecen a los tamales y se preparan tradicionalmente con masa de plátano verde rellena con carne de cerdo guisado; el lechón asado, cerdo asado lentamente con carne jugosa y piel crujiente, que ha sido recientemente declarado legado culinario puertorriqueño. Y porque una buena comida nunca está completa sin postre, el tembleque que es un tipo de flan sedoso a base de coco y los casquitos de guayaba, pasta de guayaba acompañada de queso blanco local son dos de los clásicos imperdibles.

State-of-the -art cocktails and mixology
The island's cocktail scene has evolved with the same care as the culinary scene. Puerto Rico is the birthplace of the piña colada, and you'll find that the innovative approach to soft drinks continues to this day, whether it's at one of the world's best bars in Old San Juan, on a brewery tour, at a tasting of local rums or simply with a cocktail by the pool.

Golden or white, spicy or dark, Puerto Rico is the rum capital of the world, and on the island you'll find many creative interpretations of rum-based cocktails. While many bartenders have their own take on classics like the piña colada, ask to have your drink mixed with award-winning Puerto Rican brands like Bacardi, Ron del Barrilito, or Don Q so you understand what we mean when we talk about the rum capital of the world. .

A great way to taste and learn about the more than 70 brands under the Rums of Puerto Rico seal of quality is to tour our distilleries, such as the historic Castillo Serrallés and the emblematic Casa Bacardí. You can also try some creative rum cocktails at bars like La Factoría and La Casita de los Rones in Old San Juan or Mario Pagán's La Barrita del Lado or La Central, both in the T-Mobile District.

The National Drink: The Piña Colada
If you love the Piña Colada, you should know that the famous tropical drink was invented in Puerto Rico. The sweet mix of coconut cream, pineapple juice, white rum and ice was born in San Juan, but the identity of its creator remains an unresolved controversy on the island. Three different bartenders claim the invention as their own. The Caribe Hilton hotel, one of the most famous in San Juan, is the scene of two of the origin stories of the piña colada.

Other locals say that the piña colada dates back to the 19th century and attribute the fruity cocktail to Puerto Rican pirate Roberto Cofresí, according to whom he served this drink to his crew to boost morale. Although it is not known whose hands created the famous piña colada, one thing is certain: it has not only become the national drink of Puerto Rico, but a favorite around the world, regardless of where you travel. .

So whether you're lounging on the beach or taking in the sights and tunes of the buzzing nightlife, be sure to savor and enjoy the island's signature drink and indulge in this little piece of identity.

Chefs that will make your palate fall in love
The creativity and variety of Puerto Rican cuisine are presented by experts who highlight the gastronomy of the island in different ways. With an emerging group of local chefs elevating the island's produce and flavors with specialized techniques, Puerto Rico's culinary scene is well worth a visit. With flavors and techniques that will surprise your palate, here are some of the best chefs on the island:

José Santaella: Chef Santaella is the author of the best-selling cookbook "Tropical Cuisine: The Classic and Contemporary Flavors of Puerto Rico," whose foreword was written by Chef Eric Ripert. He was also named "The People's Best New Chef Gulf Coast" by Food and Wine magazine in 2014. With a career spanning 20 years, the chef has staked his name on the restaurant, Santaella, and focuses his talents on showcasing local dishes incorporating flavors and techniques from around the world.

Juan José Cuevas: His career began working at the three-Michelin-starred Arkelare in San Sebastián, Spain, but his culinary journey also took him to the kitchens of Barcelona, ​​San Francisco and New York. Being at the head of The Blue Hill in New York, the restaurant received a Michelin star. In Puerto Rico, he is the executive chef of 1919, an unmissable dining experience inside the Hotel Condado Vanderbilt. The menu focuses on farm-to-table dishes prepared with the freshest organic and local ingredients.

Mario Pagán: Chef Pagán has received praise in various publications including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. He is also the author of two cookbooks, Caribe: Cocinas del Mundo (2005) and La Gran Cocina Caribeña y sus 12 Grandes Chefs (2004). He currently owns three restaurants: Mario Pagán Restaurant in Condado, SAGE Italian Steak Loft, where he focuses on modern and Creole cuisine, and La Central by Mario Pagán in Distrito T-Mobile, where he unites local flavors with style and international creativity. He is also the executive chef of Melao, a trendy Caribbean restaurant at the Dorado Beach Resort, and RAYA, a Caribbean-Asian fusion cuisine restaurant.

Coffee, please
Waking up in Puerto Rico includes having a good cup of café colao', be it puya, Cortadito, Termo or Clarito, and if you visit a local family around 2:00 or 3:00 pm, you'll also They will offer a cup of coffee. Coffee is a big part of Puerto Rican culture, it has been grown in the mountainous area of ​​the island since the 18th century and in the 19th century, it was one of the most important industries.

In recent years, many coffee farms have opened up to the public, offering farm tours and taking visitors through the production process from seed to cup. Many also have very good restaurants and cafes; some even offer cabins for the night. Visiting these coffee farms requires driving into the mountains on roads that are often narrow and winding, but your reward will be spectacular views of rows of coffee plants stretching along the hills, breathing in the pristine air and general tranquility. of the landscape... of course, not to mention the exquisite coffee.

Some of the plantations you can visit are Hacienda San Pedro (Jayuya), Hacienda Muñoz (San Lorenzo), Hacienda Lealtad (Lares), Hacienda Pomarrosa (Ponce), Hacienda Tres Ángeles (Adjuntas), and if you want to learn about the history of coffee in Puerto Rico visit the Coffee Museum in Ciales.

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