Flavors of San Juan

Food is my favorite part of any trip. I willingly eat my way thru any country I am in.

Puerto Rico proved to be a great eating vacation and it all started with a food tour of Old San Juan.

Flavors of San Juan Food and Culture Tours invited me along  on a beautiful sunny day in December for some culinary magic.

Old San Juan is a wonderful place to wonder. It’s brightly colored buildings and cobble stoned roads are reminiscent of a time long ago. The city is surprisingly clean and small enough to travel by foot. Just watch out for the sun, it can get quite hot. Bring water.

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Our first stop which was along the water was at the Princess gastro pub. We got a quick rum tour. Puerto Rico is one of the largest exporters of rum and they sure do have an excellent selection.

 

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One of my personal favorite stops was at the tiny Senor Paleta. Selling a variety of Popsicle’s. I chose coconut pineapple. I figured when in the Caribbean one should choose the popular local flavors. I was not disappointed.

The great thing about the tour was the variety of food choices we got to try splashed with history lessons. It is great to eat local food and try new things but it is always better when it comes with stories, It helps you understand why they eat the food they do and how their cuisine has evolved over the centuries.

 

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Even though I truly loved the popsicle my favorite stop was at the Rosa de Triana.  Originally it was the  town hall jail dating back to the 1500’s. When we sat in the  dining hall I could see how it was once a jail. It was dark but much more romantic then jail must have been . White walls made the low ceilings and limited windows  much brighter. Candles and white strand lights illuminated the food. Plus we got to make our own Mofongo!

 

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What is Mofongo?

It is basically mashed plantains that create a shell around pork. Although I have seen it made with chicken or shrimp as well. We took our tools and mashed butter and garlic into the plantains once it was good and mushed we added the meat. It was the best Mofongo I had the entire time I was in Puerto Rico and I made a point to try it a few times.

 

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After making our own Mofongo it was time for a drink. Invented in 1963 at a bar in Puerto Rico by a local, the Pina Colada is now very famous drink made all over the world. We sat outside at a shaded patio at the appropriately named El Patio de Ana to enjoy the cocktail. I never order fruity drinks. I am a beer drinker, a wine drinker or a very plain vodka club soda but there is no denying that a Pina Colada is tasty!

 

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There is so much to explore in Old San Juan. It has two forts that over look the ocean, an incredibly old and interesting cemetery and hundreds of tiny streets with shops of all kind to see.

I am so glad I kicked off my exploration with Flavors of Old San Juan Food & Cultural Tours. Their historical culinary adventures are a great way to see and taste the city.

I would like to thank them for their hospitality and knowledge. I recommend starting your trip to Puerto Rico with one of their tours it is a great way to gain knowledge of the city.

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