Arroz con gandules
Considered a boricua staple, this signature Puerto Rican rice dish is consumed year-round. Pigeon peas, or gandules, are small, dense legumes which are cooked with the rice in a large pot. First, salted pork or ham hock is sautéed in olive oil. Sofrito is then added, along with bay leaves, tomato paste, annatto, and often olives or capers. The rice and pigeon peas are then coated with this sauce, water or broth is added, and everything is cooked together until the rice is done.
Here are a few of the common types of frituras you might see during your visit:
Alcapurrias are a fritter shaped like a torpedo, made from shredded root vegetables like yuca and yautía, stuffed with a choice of meat, and fried. Deep-fried fritters normally found in open-air, beachside restaurants that pair beautifully with a cold beer. These are usually stuffed with ground beef, crab meat, chicken, fish, octopus, conch, or other types of seafood. There are a variety of different fritters you will find in Puerto Rico.
Empanadillas are a larger version of empanadas, also stuffed with a choice of meat and fried. There’s also a popular pizza version filled with melted mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce.
Puerto Rican arepas are flour based, sometimes made with coconut for a slightly sweet flavor, fried and then stuffed, usually with seafood.
Bacalaítos are not stuffed, just a simple batter of flour and water with chunks of salted cod and parsley, deep fried into what look like giant corn flakes.