I can always remember a vacation by the food. In the case of my recent trip with David to Puerto Rico, it was all about two things: pork and rum. I have never eaten as much barbecued pork, roasted pork, pork in beans, pork dripping snacks, crispy pork skin or pork fried plantains in my life than I had in Puerto Rico. Of all the Cuba Libre (Rum & Coke) with Bacardi, Coco Frio or empanadas, the pork dishes were the most memorable.
Our second night in the El Yunque Rainforest convinced us to make a pilgrimage to Guavate, a town in the mountains famous for Lechon Asada, or whole roast pig. We arrived at the Highway of Pork; a multitude of Lechonerias. We had one mission: to seek out the grand pork experience. We picked one of the first joints, ‘El Mojito Lechoneria’ (lacking in the mojito drink department, funnily enough), and with very broken spanish, ordered an abundance of pork, beer, and side dishes packed into rudimentary plastic containers.
I’m telling you- this is eating, folks. This is what Puerto Rico is all about. Slices of rich, buttery roasted pork was accompanied by crunchy squares of salty pork skin- a carnivore’s idea of candy. I took care of most of the incredible side dishes: the rice with pigeon peas (Arroz de Gandules), fried sweet plantain, and red beans in drippings. David was enamored with the fried pork on the bone, the closest item to a chicharron. No Budweiser here; Medalla Light, the local hydration of choice, was the perfect accompaniment while we ate amongst the locals.
David and I could not stop raving about our pork pit stop and concluded that the best eating on the island happened on the side of the road, such as the lechoneria we visited. Do rent a car solely for the freedom to stop by a roadside bakery or barbecue stand under a tent serving skewers of pork and cold cokes. I would absolutely recommend vacationing to Puerto Rico, and the pilgrimage to the pork should be a must on your list.