With influences from across the world, from Europe to Latin America, to the Caribbean, and America, it is no wonder that Puerto Rico has some of the most vibrant and flavorful food out there!
Not only are the many restaurant-worthy dishes incredible, and often easy to eat, but so is Puerto Rican street food too, fresh from the vendor.
If you’re wondering about what kinds of foods are popular street treats in Puerto Rico, or if you want to try your hand at making some of your own, then you need to check out this list of amazing street foods that we have compiled here for you.
Not only are they incredibly popular, but they might just become your favorite new meal too!
Starting off this list, we have food that might be a little familiar to many readers, but with an undeniable Puerto Rican twist to it that makes it a fantastic new recipe all of its own.
Alcapurrias are very similar to fritters in many ways, as they are a type of paste or batter that surrounds a filling and is then deep-fried.
However, simply labeling them as Puerto Rican fritters would be kind of a disservice to them.
Instead of your usual batter, the soon-to-be crispy outside her is made from plantain and yuca/taro root, which is pulped and mixed before then being fried, and served alongside picadillo.
While these are normally served alongside a main dish of some kind, they are also a very popular street food to eat on their own, partly because there are so many potential fillings you can have with them, from fruit, to braised beef, or cheese.
Getting one of these fresh from a street vendor is one of those simple pleasures that can lift anyone’s day, so hopefully, the recipe we’ve included does the same for you!
Arroz Con Dulce
Virtually every cuisine has some kind of rice recipe, and Puerto Rico is no exception, where there are a variety of rice (or arroz) dishes on offer.
However, when it comes to rice dishes, many people don’t tend to think of desserts!
And yet, this type of rice pudding, Arroz con Dulce is exactly the way to enjoy rice if you’re looking for sweet street food in Puerto Rico!
In terms of texture and consistency, Arroz con Dulce is very similar to Arroz con Leche (another great street food, while we’re on the subject), but it is noticeably sweeter. Dulce does mean ‘sweet’ in Spanish, after all!
The trick for making this yourself is to include sweetened or condensed milk in your ingredient list, which is otherwise pretty similar to the aforementioned Arroz con Leche.
This also means that it’s a very easy recipe to make for yourself, so there are no excuses not to try making it for yourself, your family, or any guests you might have!
Anyone who is even vaguely aware of Puerto Rican cuisine will have at least heard of Empanadillas, if not tried one for themselves.
Not to be confused with Empanadas (a very similar Latin American pastry), these pastry turnovers are stuffed with plenty of seasoned foods for you to enjoy, all wrapped in a golden-brown outside shell.
These are incredibly popular across all of Puerto Rico, thanks to both the great flavors you can find in them, as well as their perfectly contained contents being easily transportable.
This makes them incredibly popular as street food for vendors to have, as all they need to do is fry them up for a hot minute, then serve them!
Plus, you can stuff these little guys with fish, meat, vegetable, fruits, and cheeses. Pretty much any kind of food becomes better with one of these little things.
Try the recipe we have included here, and see for yourself!
Back on to the subject fritter we go, Bacalaitos are the perfect seafood treat if you prefer fish over a classic meat filling any day!
Like traditional fritters, this dish is made by deep-frying your dough and filling it, then serving it as a side.
The crunchy outside texture makes way for the softer, delicate fish flavor that is locked away inside.
Plus, their simple setup means all a vendor needs to do is to stick a few of these in a deep fryer for a few minutes, then wrapped to be served.
Don’t be surprised to find plenty of vendors with this particular dish if you’re ever visiting this beautiful tropical island!
Arroz Con Gandules
Of course, we’ve already had one rice recipe on this list.
But there are plenty of ways to enjoy this worldwide popular food, and this next Arroz dish is perfect for those who love a more savory way to enjoy their rice!
Of course, this being a rice dish, this is going to be a very feeling meal, especially when you are including all the extra ingredients that this recipe tends to ask for, such as pork, pigeon peas, olives, and so on.
All these ingredients make this rice delicious, of course. But what brings it together is the spice that is used in this dish, sofrito.
Pretty much every savory dish, and plenty of sweet dishes too, will use this seasoning in some form, thanks to its powerful, fresh flavor.
This spice brings everything together, making a beautifully savory dish that any lover of Puerto Rico food owes to themselves to try.
No wonder so many street vendors sell this food!
Now, if you’re looking for another classic American meal with a Puerto Rican twist, you’ve come to the right place with this next recipe!
Sorullitos are pretty easily recognizable, looking a little like deep-fried cigars, with their wide cylindrical shape, like some of the other recipes that we have covered in this list, are deep-fried batter that contains some kind of filling, usually a soft cheese of some kind.
This makes them quite similar to fritters and mozzarella sticks. However, a little sofrito seasoning is all it takes to set these fried little guys apart from other dishes like them!
Now, if you’re looking for a tasty dish that uses ingredients that you know and love in interesting ways, then this particular dish will be exactly what you’re looking for.
What we have here is a dish that uses potatoes, a classic veggie in cuisine across the world, and is boiled, then mashed and mix with a ton of other ingredients, like cornstarch and eggs, to make it into a nice, malleable outer paste/pulp.
This potato pulp can then be filled with all kinds of wonderful and delicious ingredients, from all kinds of cheeses to pretty much any meat that you can think of and cook!
It’s a very novel dish and one that makes for great use of some ingredients that you may have easy access to in your pantry. No wonder vendors love it as much as they do!
So, there you have it!
Street food is one of our favorite styles of food to eat, often being emblematic of the real food that people eat in a local area.
And, as we have hopefully shown in this guide, Puerto Rico is positively bursting with amazing foods and flavors!
Try out some of the recipes that we have shared here for yourself, and see if this cuisine is for you!