Some places you visit will inevitably change the way you think about food forever. For me, Puerto Rico is such a place.
I was aware of a few dishes in advance of my arrival on the island, for sure, but they were mostly the dishes you find stateside that represent Puerto Rican cuisine in broad strokes: pernil, arroz con gandules, tostones, etc. But what I encountered on the island ran so much deeper.
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The variety of root vegetables at play. The reverence for crisp-skinned, whole roasted hog. The deft touch with bacalao. The native land crab that permeated so many dishes. The skill involved with making a simple pot of beans. Even the complexity of sofritos that every Puerto Rican home stocks in the freezer for everyday cooking took me by surprise. Like its people, Puerto Rico's cuisine is something that's hard not to fall in love with.
Need more convincing? Then check out this little video series we're calling On The Road. In this episode, I explore a few of the island's chinchorros, beachside fry shacks featuring a variety of alcapurrias, pastelillos, and bacalaitos, among many other things. I hope that it piques your interest, and you decide to explore Puerto Rico for yourself. I promise you won't be disappointed.