Puerto Rico’s cuisine is famous for many reasons, but although PR has a great variety of delicious food lets concentrate on one of its most attractive and famous: the frituras or Puerto Rican fried food. Have you ever passed by a street side stand where they sell these frituras but passed it by because you didn’t know what to ask for? Well, no more!
Puerto Rican Fried Food
Puerto Rican cuisine is a mix of traditional Spanish, African and native Tainos, with a dose of ingredients produced in the United States. In this mix, you will find native ingredients like sweet or green plantains and taro root. Non-native salt cod is a favorite on the island due to its long shelf life and popularity in Spanish cuisine. U.S. favorites like pizza and ketchup also appear on the (often non-printed) roadside menus.
These roadside kiosks, known in Spanish as chinchorros or kioskos, are mostly found in the countryside or along the coast. Considered by locals to be a cheap place to eat and drink, they tend to have loud music and a glass case where they display all the frituras. Prices range from $1 to $3 so it’s extremely affordable and you can try them all.
Now let’s review some of the frituras they offer so you can learn what to ask for the next time you visit one of them!
Fried codfish fritters. Made from minced salted cod, bacalaitos are crunchy and salty. They are mostly found along the coastline chinchorros.
Tip: If you are brave enough, sprinkle some pique (house made hot sauce) before eating them.
Sweet plump cornmeal fingers. Made from corn, sorrullitos always make for a great appetizer!
Tip: Best enjoyed if accompanied with mayoketchup, a mix of ketchup and mayonnaise.
Crescent-shaped turnovers filled with fish or beef. Most common fillings would be pizza, ground beef or chicken. Near the coast you can find them filled with crab and even lobster. These are also easy to make at home with pre-made dough you can find at local supermarkets, so try it out!
Ground beef filled fried fritters. Made from a mixture of grated yautía (taro root) and plantains, alcapurrias are a local favorite. They may not look too appealing but they are certainly delicious!
Cheese and ground beef filled plantain fritters. Piononos are made of sweet plantains that are battered, fried, and stuffed with cheese and ground beef. It has a sweet taste to it which you will surely enjoy.
You may wonder which kiosk to choose, especially when you are faced with many to choose from. To find the safest vendor, follow these tips:
- Do what the locals do. Choose a kiosk with lots of locals.
- Are there local parents with kids? Parents don’t want their kids getting sick, neither will you.
- Busy is good. When you are buying food, this isn’t the time to follow the less traveled path. You want a vendor who is constantly deep frying new food for the freshest experience.
Would you like to visit a chinchorro?
Visit Chinchorros.com for a map of Puerto Rican fried food vendors.