Puerto Rico has tons of different street foods to choose from.
Did you know that Puerto Rican food is a mix of Spanish, African, Taíno, and American cuisine?
You’ll want to try all types on your vacation to the island, but don’t worry! I know the 30 best to try.
I’ve spent most of my time traveling beachside towns while I’ve been backpacking, looking for the best local food, and usually it’s a kiosk with a line down the road!
Street food kiosks are common, cheap, and filled with staple foods made by the locals. You don’t always need a fine dining experience to dine on the finest – let’s check it out.
Empanadillas are deep fried turnovers, commonly made with beef, chicken, or seafood filling, and even cheese or fruit as well!
You can find empanadillas almost anywhere in Puerto Rico.
These are stuffed fritters, usually made from a starchy vegetable like yuca or green plantains, stuffed with ground beef or pork, and then deep fried to crispy perfection.
Sorullitos or sorullos are cornmeal fritters, shaped like cigars.
Sometimes they’re sweet with sugar and sometimes they’re savory with cheese and corn kernels— you can eat them for breakfast or as a side at any meal.
Bacalaitos are deep fried codfish pancakes, so to speak.
Salted codfish is battered and fried into hand sized disks, usually served as a snack at the beach.
Fried pork belly or pork rinds, typically served with mayo-ketchup, mofongo, or lemon wedges.
Another fried delight, tostones are fried green plantains, smashed into disks just bigger than a potato chip.
Rellenos de papa are fried, stuffed potatoes filled with minced meat.
Puerto Rico is known for its barbecue, and pinchos are a great example.
You might know them as kebabs!
Chicken or marinated meat, cut into bits, stuck through, and cooked over an open flame.
Another great example of the island’s barbecued meats, pernil asado, a close cousin of lechon asado (#27), is slow roasted pork, usually served with root vegetables and fried plantains.
Piononos are sweet and savory— they’re a combination of minced beef held in a fried sweet plantain cup.
This one is self explanatory— street tacos!
Puerto Rican tacos are typically served in corn tortillas, with any combination of meat, cheese, and vegetables inside.
A friend told me once that rice and beans will get you through anything— and they’re always good!
Very similar to arroz con habichuelas, arroz guisado is stewed rice, also known as Spanish rice.
It’s yellow rice cooked with pigeon peas, beans, spices, and often bits of pork.
Arroz guisado is known as Puerto Rico’s national dish!
The tripleta sandwich has three types of meat, hence its name.
It’s steak, pork, and ham on a roll, served with optional veggies and condiments.
Frappe stands serve up whipped drinks, some with fruit and others not, but you can always count on them being cold and delicious.
Coco frio isn’t so much a street “food” but rather cold coconut water, usually served directly from a coconut with its top cut off.
You can find coco frio stands almost everywhere you go, sometimes with options for adding to your drink, like rum or whiskey.
Not so much a cooked food but a common snack, quenepas resemble miniature limes in clusters, like grapes.
You’ll often see the skin of them discarded on the ground— they’re sweet and fun to eat!
One of the healthiest street foods you’ll find, ceviche is a sort of seafood salad made of shrimp, scallops or other fish, dressed with spices, garlic, onions, and other vegetables in a lime or lemon juice.
Elotes are whole, grilled ears of corn, typically dressed with a cream sauce, cheese, and other spices.
Blood sausage is common in Puerto Rico, but it originated in Spain.
It’s made of rice, pork blood, and a lot of garlic, onion and other spices.
Mofongo is one of the most common sides other than rice— it’s green plantains, seasoned, fried, and mashed to be smooth and delicious.
A similar fry bread is served in South America using corn flour, but in Puerto Rico this fry bread is made with wheat flour.
Arepas come sweet, savory, plain or stuffed, and are sure to compliment any meal— especially breakfast!
Maduros are similar to tostones, but they are made from ripe, sweet plantains that have been cut into bite-sized slices and fried.
Small hotdog vendors can be found all around Puerto Rico, especially near the beach.
You may find a vendor that offers a sort of loaded hotdog, with sautéed onions, ketchup, mustard, ground beef, cheese sauce and potato sticks!
This is a sandwich, with your typical meat, lettuce, cheese, mayonnaise, but instead of being served on bread, it’s between two fried plantains!
Like hotdogs, hamburgers aren’t an especially Puerto Rican food, but they’re definitely common on the island.
Vendors often sell cheap, hand-pattied burgers grilled on a flat top with your selection of toppings and fries.
The many lechoneras of Puerto Rico serve lechon asado, which is a whole pig roasted on the spit.
On the Pork Highway, or route 184, you can hop from restaurant to restaurant, dancing and eating the best lechon asado.
Pasteles are similar to tamales, but originated in Puerto Rico.
They’re made of mashed yuca or squash with savory meat, like fish or pork, cooked in a banana leaf.
They’re mainly served at Christmas, but they’re good all year!
Churrasco is the Spanish term for grilled steak.
Usually, Puerto Rican churrasco is skirt steak, seasoned, grilled, and served on a sandwich or next to sides.
You can’t have street food without mayo ketchup!
At most kiosks and restaurants, often unlabeled, there will be a bottle of pink sauce— it’s mayonnaise, ketchup, and garlic— and it’s eaten with every salty, fried food.
Puerto Rican street food is something you must try on your trip to the island!
Be sure to try the empanadillas, the tostones, and the bacalaitos— the bacalaitos will always be my go-to.
If you’re looking for something more family or date friendly— or just where you can sit inside— check out our article where we give you the 35 best restaurants in Puerto Rico.
Writer at PuertoRico.com. I’ve been backpacking for about three years now. A majority was on the eastern coast of the U.S., but recently I’ve spent over nine months traveling around Puerto Rico, camping on beaches, meeting locals, and learning about the culture. I’m a creative writer, but when I’m not writing, I’m reading, illustrating, or just napping in my hammock.About the author