The Many Influcences Upon Puerto Rico's Cuisine
As with most of Puerto Rico's culture, the country's cuisine reflects strong Taino, Spanish, African and American influences. Locally known as Cocina Criolla or Creole Cooking, Puerto Rican traditional cuisine can be traced back to the original inhabitants of the land who feasted on fruit, corn and freshly caught seafood. Later, when Columbus arrived on the scene in 1493, other meat, rice, wheat and oil products were thrown into the mix. These mingled flavors can be tasted in various forms in traditional Puerto Rican cuisine.
A full meal in Puerto Rico might include appetizers of cod fritters or cornmeal fingers. Many old-school Puerto Ricans love their soups which are thought to be the original meal of choice by the islands' inhabitants. Frijoles negros or black bean soup is popular soup and a lovely start to your Puerto Rican meal.
For your main meal, you'll no doubt be treated with a Puerto Rican-style roasted meat. A delicious seasoned salt called Adobo is rubbed into the meat before it gets the roasting treatment. Adobo is essentially salt, garlic, black pepper and other herbs and spices. This spicy mixture gives off a beautiful and mouth-watering aroma that'll really get your stomach rumbling in anticipation.
Stews are greatly popular in Puerto Rico. Usually cooked in a large pot or kettle, large chunks of beef are marinated in a sauce of capers, pimento olives, cilantro, garlic, potatoes, onion, green and sweet chili peppers.
Deserts are usually light and often include coconut. Nisperos de batata is a very popular Puerto Rican desert of sweet potato balls covered in custard and flavored with cinnamon.
Not to be forgotten, is the traditionally strong Puerto Rican coffee which has been perfected over the last 300 years.