Must Try Puerto Rico Traditional Food – Updated 2023

Every time me and Kisan go to a new place, we try to haunt down the authentic or local food which we may not get back home. Food here is anything but typical Caribbean food that most of us are familiar with .

We had our own checklist of food that we wanted to try while in Puerto rico , collected from multiple sites, blogs and instagram of other travellers . But during our 2 week stay there and based on our interaction with locals , few more were added to our list which you will hardly see anywhere.

Believe me when i say this , you need to be prepared to order otherwise you will get lost in menu with names you have never heard before . Sure they have small description in english , but you will hardly get time with servers coming back and forth , staring at your face waiting for your order.

You can always take help from servers or ask for famous thing on menu . We did that once and we got 3 items all with rice in it 😦 .

So let me be your virtual food guide and we will start with some appetizers.

1) Patelillos de Carne or Empanadas: Meat Filled Pastries, baked or fried

Patelillos de Carne or Empanadas

2) Tostones: Plantains cut , fried , smashed and then refried


3) Alcapurrias: Basically a Fritter with green bananas or Taro root , yuca, stuffed with meat.


4) Arepas or Domplines: Fried bread traditionally made with corn.

Arepas or Domplines

5) Relleno De papa: Potato fried balls with meat filling

6) Carne Frita: Fried pork chunks , great with beer

Relleno De papa
Carne Frita with Arepas

Now Main Course:

1) Arroz con gandules: Rice with pigeon peas and other flavorful ingredients like sofrito

2) Lechon De Guvate: Roasted whole pork, cooked for hours over hot coals or an open flame that makes crispy skin but tender meat. Please, this is a must-try.

Lechon De Guvate
Arroz con gandules with pork liver
Lechon , Pasteles, Yam and Rice-Sausage

3) Pasteles: Steamed green banana masa, filled with your choice of stewed meat or can be plain. It has a complex taste, not everyone may like it.


4) Pastelon: Puertorican lasagna, layers of thinly-sliced plantains, ground beef, and cheese


5) Churrasco with Chimichurri sauce: Skirt steak with a green sauce made with cilantro, parsley, oregano, onion, garlic, etc. We had this in a wrap as well as rice.

Churrasco Wrap
Churrasco steak with Chimichurri sauce

6) Bean and Sausage soup

7) Mashed Taro: Great side or main dish. Very mild starchy flavor.

8) MOFONGO: You will find this on top of any Puerto Rican must-try blogs, but I have it down here, so it sticks in your mind. MUST TRY.

Bean and Sausage soup

Seafood entrees:

1) Arroz con jueyes : Rice with crabs and other authentic Puerto Rican flavors

2) Paella: Rice mostly with shrimps , mussels, clams , Saffron

Arroz con jueyes

3) Whole Red Snapper: Whole fish cooked in spices

4) Langosta a la parrilla: Grilled Lobster served often with rice

Whole Red Snapper with Mofongo
Langosta a la parrilla

5) Any seafood Ceviche: Raw sea food marinated in citrus juice


Almost the end of the food tour, so let’s move on to sweet dishes

  1. Platanos Maduros: Ripe sweet plantains fried in oil.

2) Arroz Con Dulce / Arroz con Leche: Rice pudding which has coconut milk, vanilla, sugar, spices like cinnamon, cloves

Platanos Maduros
Arroz Con Dulce / Arroz con Leche

3) Tembleque (tem-bleck) : Wiggly creamy coconut pudding with Coconut milk, Sugar, and Corn Starch.

4) Flan: Creamy custard cheesecake-like dessert with cheese, eggs, evaporated milk, condensed milk, sugar , and vanilla layered with caramel or topped with fruits and cream

5) Guava Pastelitos: Tasty crispy multilayer pastries with guava paste

Tembleque (tem-bleck)
Guava Pastelitos

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