30 Best Puerto Rican Street Foods In 2022 – The Ultimate Guide

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. 

 

1. Empanadillas

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. 

image of empanadillas
Empanadillas on display.

 

2. Alcapurrias

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. 

image of alcapurrias food
Plated alcapurrias.

 

3. Sorullitos

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. 

image of sorullitos
Sorullos served with mayo ketchup.

 

4. Bacalaitos

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. 

image of bacalaitos
Bacalaitos at a road side stand.

 

5. Chicharrones

Fried pork belly or pork rinds, typically served with mayo-ketchup, mofongo, or lemon wedges.

image of chicharrones
Chicharrones in a deep fryer.

 

6. Tostones

Another fried delight, tostones are fried green plantains, smashed into disks just bigger than a potato chip. 

image of tostones
Tostones served on a plate.

 

7. Rellenos de papa

Rellenos de papa are fried, stuffed potatoes filled with minced meat.  

image of rellenos de papa
Rellenos de papa cut in half.

 

8. Pinchos

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. 

image of pinchos
Pinchos on the grill.

 

9. Pernil asado

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. 

image of pernil asado
Pernil asado cooking over a fire.

 

10. Piononos

Piononos are sweet and savory— they’re a combination of minced beef held in a fried sweet plantain cup. 

image of piononos
Pionono cut open.

 

11. Tacos

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. 

image of tacos
Three street tacos served with a lime.

 

12. Arroz con habichuelas

A friend told me once that rice and beans will get you through anything— and they’re always good!

image of arroz con habichuelas
Arroz con habichuelas served in a bowl.

 

13. Arroz guisado

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!

image of arroz guisado
Arroz guisado served with herbs.

 

14. Tripleta

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. 

image of tripleta
Tripleta sandwich served with mayo ketchup.

 

15. Frappes

Milkshake, anyone?

Frappe stands serve up whipped drinks, some with fruit and others not, but you can always count on them being cold and delicious.

image of frappes
Frappe served in a glass.

 

16. Coco frio

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.

image of coco frio
Coco frio at the beach.

 

17. Quenepas

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!

image of quenepas
Quenepas served in a dish.

 

18. Ceviche

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. 

image of ceviche
Ceviche served in a glass with lime.

 

19. Elotes

Street corn!

Elotes are whole, grilled ears of corn, typically dressed with a cream sauce, cheese, and other spices. 

image of elotes
Elotes served with cilantro and lime.

 

20. Morcilla

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.

image of morcilla
Blood sausage cut and served on a plate.

 

21. Mofongo

Mofongo is one of the most common sides other than rice— it’s green plantains, seasoned, fried, and mashed to be smooth and delicious. 

image of mofongo
Mofungo served as a side.

 

22. Arepas

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!

image of arepas
Plain arepas.

 

23. Maduros

Maduros are similar to tostones, but they are made from ripe, sweet plantains that have been cut into bite-sized slices and fried. 

image of maduros
Maduros served fresh from the fryer.

 

24. Loaded hotdogs

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!

image of loaded hotdogs
Loaded hotdogs served with soda. 

 

25. Jibaritos

This is a sandwich, with your typical meat, lettuce, cheese, mayonnaise, but instead of being served on bread, it’s between two fried plantains! 

image of jibaritos
Jibaritos served with rice.

 

26. Hamburgers 

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.

image of hamburgers
Vendor serves hamburger with condiments.

 

27. Lechon asado

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. 

image of lechon asado
Lechon asado roasting.

 

28. Pasteles 

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!

image of pasteless
Pasteles unwrapped.

 

29. Churrasco

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.

image of churrasco
Churrasco served with mofungo and a side salad.

 

30. Mayo ketchup

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.

image of mayo ketchup
Mayo ketchup and tostones.

 

 

Final thoughts

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. 

The best kiosks can be found around Piñones, in Luquillo, and in small, mom-and-pop storefronts like La Parada de los Surfers in Isabela.

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

Article by

Jason Tripp Lou

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.

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