Fried, fried and deeper fried is usually what you think of when visiting Puerto Rico…that is, until now. On a recent visit to the countries coastal Rincon area, I discovered a new territory of flavors sprouting up within restaurants and bars along the beach. Whether filling your post surf cravings or simply tasting the best cooked local produce, here are the top five meals to twist your tongue around while visiting this tropical haven.
1. Mahi Mahi with rice and beans accompanied by their ‘award winning’ Mojito at Tamboo: This steals my number one spot, purely in its simplicity, rich flavor and ability to use all local ingredients. Grilled to perfection in a tomato glaze and served alongside the Puerto Ricon accompanianments, Tamboo has come up with the freshest local dish available. The latter, chased with the crispist mojito in town, is sure to please any tourist.
2. Pad Thia & Pina Colada Martini at Ode to the Elephant: While Thia cuisine might not be the first thing that comes to mind in Puerto Rico, it certainly suits the climate. The location isn’t half bad either; an elegantly decorated beachouse with a starlit terrace by which to enjoy best martinis around. My choice is the pad thia brimming with peanuts, noodles and tangy lime shrimp. Combine your food with the unique Pina Colada martini (standard vacation drink with a twist) and sink into tropical bliss.
3. Trifongo with Mahi Mahi at Red Flamboyant: Triofongo is a standard Puerto Ricon dish; sweet plantains mashed to line a bowl of delciousness and topped with fresh grilled fish. This is not one to miss. Infused with the spices of the area, and sprinkled with hot sauce, find the perfect combination of sweet and savory within a warm clay flask.
4. Starving Starving Roll and Saki at Pools Bar: This close to the ocean fresh fish cant get much better, especially when teamed with avocado, tempura shrimp and crabmeat rolled in a parcel of white rice. Combined with hot saki, this is sure to fill any wave-hunters appetite. Set back in a rainforest setting, dine by a dimly lit poolside lodge and watch silouttes of surfers projected each evening on large screen. This is a meal no surfer should miss in Puerto Rico.
5. Fish Pinchos/Fish Epanadillas & a Mango Strawberry Smoothie at Steps Quick Lunch: The Puerto Rican tradition of ‘pinchos’ or skewers are traditionally meat based, but whether emerging from the ocean or a day at the waterfalls, Pools Bar offers grilled fish literally just caught from the ocean 10 meters away and serves it up from a small surf shack van to a line of hungry locals. Their fish empanadillas aren’t half bad either, with a choice of anything from shark to whitebait nestled in a pastry parcel. In the peak midday heat of Rincon sunshine, grab a pure fruit smoothie to accompany, and take a seat under the shade of the palm to watch the most priceless view of the ocean imaginable.