Puerto Rican food – I have to say not because I’m from the island – is one of the best in the world.
However, is not that healthy… it is greasy, fat and oh so good! When on vacation at least you are allowed to cheat a little bit on your diet, right?
So when in Puerto Rico be sure to have an alcapurria, a bacalaito, taquito (not to be confused with a Mexican taco, is quite different), a pastelillo or empanadilla and a pionono to just name a few… You don’t have to eat all of them but at least you have to try two or three of them.
I have to be honest and admit that I went to Wikipedia to search for the correct definition of alcapurrias…. Honesty again, I have never made one from scratch.
"An alcapurria is made from a doughy mixture of mashed up tubers and root vegetables that grow on the island surrounding a center of heavily seasoned meat. Cooks spoon the meat into the center, roll the alcapurria into a distinctive peg shape and deep fry it for several minutes. The dough that surrounds the 'masa' and is made of yautia and may contain grated calabaza (tropical pumpkins), potato, plantains, and other starchy tropical tubers. Cooks usually add achiote and oil to the masa to give its own flavor and color".
So there you go… that’s an alcapurria… I can add that they are filled with ground beef or picadillo, crab or chicken. My favorite is crab… dreaming about one right now!
What do you get when you mix a flour batter with salty cod and fry it until golden and crispy? That my friends is a bacalaito!!!
Don’t confuse the Puerto Rican pionono with the South American version, known as a type of a pastry in countries like Argentina, Peru and even Colombia and Venezuela. Ours is another fritter made of sweet or yellow plantains fried ‘til golden and filled with picadillo and covered with cheese. Its shaped like a circular cake, therefore the name of the pionono…
All of this greasy fried yumminess are staples in the Puerto Rican cuisine and are best when made at home. But they are also our favorite beach food and in every beach - and we have lots of them! – There’s a shack that makes/sells them.
But there are two very known areas in the north east of the island: Piñones (near San Juan) and the town of Luquillo. They are filled with kiosks where alcapurrias and bacalaitos are fried to perfection right there and then when you order them.
One of my favorites and that highly recommend visiting-stopping by is El Boricua in Piñones. It has the best alcapurrias ever! They are big and they are fill with a lot of meat and oh yeah, they are greasy yummy!