Food: Sweet and Salty
February 21, 2022
Puerto Rican food is as proud of a mix of cultures, and flavors, as other aspects of Puerto Rico.
Among a variety of seafood, plantain-based dishes, mofongo, and the famous Puerto Rican drink so good it’s been eternalized in song, the Piña Colada, is the restaurant Raíces.
Aptly named, the walls are adorned with murals depicting just how deep those Puerto Rican raíces (roots) go, from Taíno to African.
Sitting with ocean on all sides, it should be no surprise that Puerto Rico appreciates the flavor of seafood as few menus can escape the taste of the sea.
Shrimp to octopus to conch meat can be found just in the dedicated “Mofongo” page of the Raíces menu. In fact, they can be found in a single dish of “Mariscos Mixtos” (Mixed Seafood) mofongo, if desired.
Here we have another thing that few Puerto Rican menus are without: Mofongo.
The fact that this dish is made of plantains, fried and mashed, is about the only guarantee. From seafood to chicken to vegetables, it’s harder to find a food mofongo can’t be mixed with than one it can.
Even without mofongo (though the thought is audacious), plantains scamper throughout the menu.
Arañitas, contrary to what their name (Little Spiders) suggests, are not eight-legged creatures, but strips of plantain, fried into crunchiness.
Fried plantain tostones resemble circles drawn with a shaky hand, colored in with a bit of saltiness while sweet plantain amarillos are softer than their tostone and arañita cousins.
And that’s just the side dishes.
However, some of the best tastes of San Juan can be found at the stalls, small and painted green in a bustling courtyard, whose names do not extend beyond “Kiosk Stations.”
Forever ones to mix flavors, sweet and savory, beyond the cheesy-corn-bread goodness of the sorollito is a delectable sweet bread that can be found at these Kioscos.
While we would never consider sprinkling powdered sugar over ham and cheese, the fluffy bread of the mallorca sandwiched in between the two flavors makes a mouthwatering sweet and savory meal.
And, since I’ve talked you through to desert, there’s one pastry I will take all my breath to rave about: the quesito.
Cream cheese stuffed, pastry twisted, sprinkled in sugar, their flavors are simple, but simplicity has never tasted better.
If there is one word you need to know when talking about Puerto Rico, it is mezcla. A mix of cultures, a mix of flavors, a mix of wonders.