Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Food

Mexican food this is not! Cuisine in Puerto Rico blends the very best of Spain, Africa, Taino and America, all on one plate. Whether touching down on Puerto Rican soil or indulging in the tasty delights on one of many available Puerto Rico cruises, you should prepare your mind and palate for a delectable taste sensation. This proud Caribbean island uses only the best local--and sometimes ancient--foodstuffs to create flavors found nowhere else, and food from Puerto Rico truly is a study in history via incredible food.

Delicious Puerto Rican Fried Foods

Mofongo are made of plantains, which are abundant in Puerto Rico and look like bananas but are hard and not very sweet. Puerto Ricans fry them in oil and then put them in a pilon (a large mortar and pestle) and crush them with garlic, olive oil and chicharron (fried pork skin). Some locals like to make a mound, and underneath stuff it with crab or pork.

Exemplifying the versatility of the plantain, Tostones are Puerto Rico's answer to potato chips. After the plantains are cut into one-inch pieces, they are fried in oil. They are then smashed flat in a tostonera - two pieces of seasoned wood - and fried and flattened a second time. They accompany dinner like bread does in many other places.

Yucca, the root vegetable, is also found almost everywhere in Puerto Rico. It is typically boiled, then basted with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and onions. The yucca is used as a complementary dish almost as often as fresh, red kidney beans and white rice.

Puerto Rican Food's Delicious Soups and Main Courses

In addition to tasty plantain dishes, one might be served Sancocho before lunch or dinner in Puerto Rico. Sancocho is a savory, fragrant soup with a base made of Sofrito (a sautee of sweet chilis and herbs), which gives the soup a very distinct flavor. Then, beef, corn, carrots and various root vegetables like yucca, batata (similar to the yam), yautia (similar to the turnip) and the versatile plantain are added. Ask any Puerto Rican family, and find that their recipe is most authentic!

One of the most delicious main dishes you can enjoy on your Puerto Rico vacation is served on special occasions, like Easter or Christmas. The Lechon is a whole pig cooked on a spit or in a "caja China," or wooden Chinese box. The skin gets very crispy and the meat is very tender. You haven't lived until you've savored the incredible crackle pulled from a steaming-hot Lechon fresh from the caja China.

Also very popular at Christmas and other special occasions is the Pastele, which looks like a tamale but is made from plantains or yucca and stuffed with chicken or pork.

Decadent Puerto Rican Desserts

Puerto Rico travel is worth it for the sinful desserts alone, which top off a hearty and often spicy meal. Like the appetizers and main courses, desserts are usually based upon the amazing tropical fruit and vegetables available. The pumpkin, grown easily all over Puerto Rico, is not only used to make succulent side dishes and soups, but also to make the base for traditional Puerto Rican cake. Coconut is probably the most common dessert ingredient.

Many dreamy desserts are made with its milk, along with a classic preparation of coconut bread pudding. Many of the custards and cakes are served with a delicious garnish of freshly grown mango or guava jam. Any of these offer a supreme end to a spicy and elegant foreign dining experience. These sweet treats from this sensual Caribbean isle will have you longing for the local cuisine while falling asleep in your Puerto Rico hotel, and later, long after you've made it back home.

The quickest way to discount airline tickets, great hotel deals and affordable car rentals by far is to book with AOL Travel. We focus on bringing you a huge selection of affordable flights, hotel rates and rent a car options to suit your fancy, and your pocketbook. You ll find great deals on flights, unforgettable hotels, and car rentals for every occasion. Looking for discount flights on the web? You ll find fantastic prices on flights no matter if you re leaving next month or next weekend. Want to book your next family vacation for less? Take advantage of our partner discounts for airline tickets, hotels, rental cars, cruises and ideas on the hottest destinations. And if you re ready for a quick last-minute travel getaway, search for last-minute deals that offer discount airline tickets, rental cars and hotels in the places you want to go.

Don't set out on your next vacation without doing your destination homework. We have compiled a huge database of destination guides and traveling advice to make your next trip smooth sailing. And when you can t get out and see the sights for yourself, watch AOL Travel correspondent Peter Greenberg s video articles on fabulous places all over the world. You just might be inspired to book airline tickets to the featured destination. Regardless if you need flights for exotic international locales, or are cruising just around the corner, AOL Travel has the discount airline tickets, great hotel deals, unforgettable cruises and car rentals to get you there for less.

Portions copyright 2010 wCities, DiscoverOurTown.com and Northstar Travel Media LLC.