They are served everywhere, from the finest dining rooms to roadside stands, and you can’t and shouldn’t miss them. Fritters, a tasty array of deep-fried snacks and appetizers, are a staple of life in Puerto Rico. The national finger foods, which are both simple street fare and classy enough for a cocktail gala, may not be light in calories, but they are rich in flavor. They can either set the stage for a soul-satisfying Puerto Rican meal or serve as an in-between-meals snack. These traditional fried favorites are enjoyed alone or served with a creamy homemade dipping sauce similar to a Russian dressing.
Good news is that no matter where you roam in Puerto Rico, you’ll never have to look far to find some of these crispy deep-fried treats. But there are a few places around the Island that have a reputation for putting out a plentiful selection of exceptionally tasty fritters. There are dozens of kiosks with a mouthwatering variety of the local delicacies in the Piñones recreational area on the outskirts of San Juan, as well as farther east in the Luquillo Beach and La Playa de Naguabo areas. Fabulous fritters can also be found in the southwest side of the Island in Boquerón and Cabo Rojo.
Crispy on the outside and moist and meaty on the inside, these banana-shaped deep-fried mashed plantains, or cassava, come stuffed with beef, pork and, less commonly, crab. These are at the top of the must-try list.
These crescent-shaped turnovers are larger versions of pastelillos with a heartier crust and a bit more filling. They come stuffed with beef, chicken or seafood such as lobster, shrimp or conch, but you can also find these quick bites filled with pizza sauce and cheese.
These usually delicate flaky pockets of fried dough are commonly filled with meat, seafood or cheese, but are also sometimes made with fruit or jam. They are eaten as a snack or an appetizer and are a common cocktail party hors d’ouerve.
This hearty ball of mashed potato is commonly filled with ground beef and dipped in egg before it is deep-fried. Watch out, more than one will fill you up.
These sweet, plump sticks of cornmeal are usually served as an appetizer with a special dipping sauce the locals call “mayoketchu.” Smaller baby-finger-sized versions are called sorullitos.
These crunchy codfish fritters look like a giant wafer of batter with a tempting aroma of codfish. These local favorites have to be tried to be appreciated, as they taste a lot better than they look and sound.