Puerto Rico is known for many things, including exquisite beaches, intriguing culture and scrumptious food. Puerto Rican food is, in fact, often described as being among the boldest and most varied cuisine in the world. Although these traditional dishes have become increasingly popular outside of their country of origin, there are still countless individuals who have not been fortunate enough to encounter these unique eats. While most people don’t to be asked twice before tucking into a plate of luscious fare, others may need a bit more convincing to eat anything considered foreign to them. Here are three ways you can easily introduce classical cuisine to your non-Puerto Rican friends.
Everyone loves a deep-fried fritter
Frituras (deep-fried fritters) are very popular in Puerto Rican communities, and typically well-loved by everyone who has the privilege of tasting one. There is a variety of beef, crab, chicken, fish, conch or octopus-filled fritters you can tempt your friends with. Torpedo-shaped alcapurrias with their fragrant ground meat fillings can be a great introduction to authentic Puerto Rican cuisine. Empanadas and empanadillas are equally as popular, and can be enjoyed as part of a meal or as a snack. Seafood lovers, on the other hand, are bound to enjoy slightly-sweet arepas. Although stuffed fritters are among the most favored traditional delicacies, not all contain a filling. Bacalaitos are made from a very simple batter that contains pieces of salted cod and parsley. The batter is dropped into hot oil and fried to resemble oversized cornflakes.
Stock up on essential ingredients
One of the easiest ways to introduce Puerto Rican flavors to friends is to encourage the use of authentic Puerto Rican ingredients. When it comes to making delicious traditional treats, there are a few staple ingredients that no pantry can go without. One such an item is sofrito – a fragrant blend of peppers and herbs. Other common ingredients used to create mouth-watering dishes include Sazón (a blend consisting of various herbs and spices) and Adobo (which will replace your typical salt/pepper combination). Tomato paste and sauce and green olives are also common ingredients that make up the basis for many Puerto Rican dishes. One way to broaden a friend or loved one’s culinary horizons, apart from taking them to the nearest Puerto Rican deli, is to sign them up for a subscription box service. There are almost countless food-themed boxes available that will see anything from ready-made meals to the ingredients for authentic global cuisine such as Puerto Rican fare delivered right to someone’s doorstep.
Desserts can win anyone over
Even introducing Puerto Rican classic cuisine to someone with a sweet tooth is an absolute breeze, considering how many classical delectable desserts there are to choose from. Some of the most sensational offerings available include the seasonal dessert called tembleque (a smooth coconut custard) and everyone’s favorite rice pudding, arroz con dulce. If you want to impress with a dreamy drink, whip up a batch of coquito – a type of eggnog made from condensed milk, evaporated milk, cinnamon, coconut milk and white rum. Chocolate, guava or pistachio-flavored coquito can also be served at the end of a meal instead of a typical dessert.
Puerto Rican cuisine has a reputation for being very bold as far as flavor pairings are concerned. Although you might have to make an effort to introduce your favorite foods to your friends, they are bound to love them as much as you do once they experience some of the most delicious authentic food in the world first-hand.