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What types of cuisine can you find in San Juan, Puerto Rico?

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What types of cuisine can you find in San Juan, Puerto Rico?

San Juan, Puerto Rico is the heart of the Caribbean. In the vibrant city, located on the north coast of the island nation, visitors not only find a rich culture and warm hospitality, but also a wide array of restaurant options to suit all tastes. This guide provides information so that visitors can make the most of their experience in San Juan and experience true Puerto Rican food.

Puerto Rican cuisine is made up of many influences like African, Taíno Indian, and Spanish, creating a vibrant mix of flavors and dishes that make dinner time more than a culinary journey but also a celebration. Some of the most popular specialties include:


Puerto Rican Mofongo is a dish made with fried plantains which are mashed with garlic, salt and thin pieces of pork rinds. This dish is one of the most popular in Puerto Rico and you can find it in almost every restaurant. Variations of this dish include different meats or seafood and the use of other items for garnish such as olives, onions and peppers.

Arroz con Gandules

This dish has been part of Puerto Rican culture since colonial times and it is one of the most popular dishes among Puerto Ricans. It is made with green pigeon peas, rice, pork and spices. The dish may vary depending on the region of Puerto Rico but the main ingredient is always the pigeon peas.


This traditional Puerto Rican snack is a simple but tasty mix of mashed fried plantains, vegetables, and ground beef or seafood. The mix is shaped into cylinders and fried until golden-brown. Alcapurrias are usually served as an appetizer or midday snack. Asados, or roast pork is often served as well.


Tostones are a favorite among locals and visitors alike. They are made by smashing green plantains into discs and then frying them until golden brown. They are often served as an appetizer with different sauces or for breakfast with eggs. The use of plantains in this delicious dish makes it an easy-to-find source of carbohydrates as well as protein.

Asopao de Pollo

Asopao de Pollo is a hearty stew-like dish made with chicken, rice, garlic, tomato sauce, red peppers and peas. Depending on the region of Puerto Rico, different spices can be added to give it a unique flavor such as recao (a type of cilantro), chorizo and bacon. This is a favorite among locals, especially during the winter months.

Rice and Beans

Rice and Beans are two staple ingredients in Puerto Rican cuisine, often served as part of a meal or side dish. The two ingredients usually served together are white rice with red kidney beans as well as black beans or pigeon peas. As for seasoning for the beans, sofrito is a popular choice which blends onions, garlic, peppers and other herbs.

Flan de Coco

This rich dessert is one of many popular choices in Puerto Rico and can be found in almost every restaurant on the island. As its name suggests, it’s made with coconut milk and flan (custard) ingredients and has a creamy texture and amazing flavor. Many restaurants have their own take on this classic dessert while others offer variations such as flan with guava or strawberry sauce.

In San Juan, Puerto Rico, visitors will notice a wide range of restaurant options available. From Michelin-starred fine dining to casual local eateries serving up traditional dishes, all visitors are sure to find something to fit their tastes and budget. With many regional dishes available, such as Mofongo, Arroz con Gandules, Alcapurrias and Tostones, visitors can experience true Authentic Puerto Rican cuisine while visiting San Juan. Asopao de Pollo, Rice and Beans and Flan de Coco will also provide an unforgettable experience for those looking to taste some of Puerto Rico’s signature dishes. To stay up to date about all the culinary adventures awaiting you in San Juan, Check this website for all the latest news on local establishments, interesting recipes and fun events taking place throughout the city.

An Insider’s Guide to San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan, Puerto Rico is a tropical paradise that boasts of pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, vibrant nightlife, and a rich cultural heritage. As a local, I know that there is so much more to this city than just what the tourists usually see.

Local Attractions: Unearthing Hidden Gems

While the historic landmarks like Castillo San Felipe del Morro and San Juan National Historic Site should not be missed, there are a few hidden gems worth exploring. La Placita de Santurce, a local market, is a great place to grab a bite and enjoy lively music. Cañuelo Beach is a secluded spot where you can enjoy the sun and sand without the crowds. Visiting Piñones, a coast-side community with a plethora of food stalls, is another must-visit destination.

Eating Like a Local: What to Know and Where to Go

Puerto Rican cuisine is a unique blend of Spanish, African, and indigenous influences. A traditional meal usually includes rice, beans, and a variety of meats. Asado, where meat is marinated with garlic, adobo, sofrito, and vinegar, and mofongo, made of mashed plantains and garlic, are among the local delights. Some of the best local spots to try these dishes include Cafe Puerto Rico in Old San Juan, Los Pinos in Rio Grande, and Platos Restaurant in Isla Verde. Don’t forget to sample a refreshing piragua, a Puerto Rican shaved ice treat, while exploring the streets.

Cultural Experiences: Embracing the Essence of Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico has a rich culture that is embodied in its music, art, and festivals. One of the most vibrant events is the Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián, a four-day festival that celebrates Saint Sebastian and the vibrant local culture. The Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, which houses major works from Puerto Rican artists ranging from the colonial to the contemporary era, is another must-visit destination for art lovers. Music enthusiasts can attend a Bomba y Plena, a local percussion and dance performance, or a salsa dancing class.

Local History: Stories from the City’s Past

San Juan has a rich and colorful history, with stories ranging from pirates to political insurrections. Casa Blanca, a mansion overlooking the bay, was once the home of Juan Ponce de León, the first governor of Puerto Rico. El Yunque, a nearby rainforest reserve, was a key sanctuary for the Taíno Indians, the indigenous inhabitants of the Caribbean. Castillo San Felipe del Morro, with its maze of tunnels and secret passages, played a crucial role in protecting Puerto Rico from sieges in the colonial era.

Off-the-Beaten-Path Suggestions: Unforgettable and Unique Experiences

For a unique experience, why not try a bioluminescent bay tour of the Laguna Grande in Fajardo, where the waters glow with microorganisms. Hiking the lush rainforest trails in El Yunque National Forest, the only tropical rainforest in the US National Forest System, is also a great way to get off the beaten path. If you’re a foodie, you might want to try a cooking class where you can learn how to make Puerto Rican delicacies like arroz con gandules.

In conclusion, San Juan, Puerto Rico has a rich history, vibrant culture, and culinary delights that have to be experienced to be fully appreciated. So, come on down, explore this tropical paradise, and discover the secrets that only the locals know about!

kelsey chance ZrhtQyGFG6s unsplash 1 scaled

What types of cuisine can you find in San Juan, Puerto Rico?

Experience Adventure Like Never Before: Book Your Tour Today!