Prompt: “Favorite Latin Cuisine”
HARD QUESTIONS! I’m a total foodie and just spent a weekend in Puerto Rico having amazing Latin-American food. At Tierra de Fuego, we ate Argentinian food; at Perurrican, we ate Peruvian and Peru/PR fusion food; and at home we ate comida criolla.
I think the defining feature of my favorite Latin-American cuisine, though, is the lack of heat and the blast of flavors. Having grown up in Puerto Rico to a boricua mom and a Cuban dad, those cuisines are definitely my favorite, though I do have soft spots for Argentine and Dominican food.
But let’s just get our mouths watering now, and I can share some food memories:
- Milanesa (a breaded cutlet dish) a la napolitana (with ham, cheese, and marinara sauce) or a caballo (with a fried egg on top) from El Deli in Puerto Rico, an Argentine place where I drank the mushroom & wine sauce like a soup, where we could draw/sign on the walls with big markers.
- Moist tres leches with ornate meringue on top, either in little to-go containers from Pollo Tropical or home-made by relatives.
- Abuela making short-grained white rice with tocino as I sat on a small, white wicker chair and watched cartoons.
- Picking out the black rice grains from the big measuring cup full of white rice as I stood on a chair helping a neighbor when we visited Mayaguez.
- Picking parcha (passionfruit) and sugar cane and guineos (bananas) and carambolas (starfruit) and little medicinal herbs and recao from our backyard.
- Mallorcas in the morning (which are apparently called ensaïmadas in non-PR Spanish?), stuffed with cheese and ham or butter, and dusted with confectioner’s sugar, plus queso fresco (fresh farmer’s cheese) fried to perfection until the outside was crispy and the inside was gooey.
- Christmases with arroz con gandules, home-made pasteles wrapped in twine and banana leaves, arroz con dulce with that little cinnamon stick. A roast pig on the spit and Christmas songs about going to see Jesus, about the jibaritos on the mountains.