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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Mofongo: Food Love, Puerto Rican Style


Inside, all the beach cafes were similar, every one had
some kind of coinop kidde ride.

“You must try the mofongo, at one of the beach stands” our Old San Juan Puerto Rico City Hot Dogs server insisted.  She sighed deeply as she said it, her face glowed and her eyes looked heavenward, fondly reminiscing.

We rented a car (cheap in Puerto Rico! Decent roads and drivers, too.) to explore Puerto Rico’s lovely coastline and visit their national rainforest park El Yunque (more on that in a future post), all the while, I was on the lookout for beach kiosks selling mofongo.
Also standard:  pool table on the “back” beach side.

Wayne indulged my desire to try a mofongo. On the way back to San Juan, in Liquillio, we stopped at some beach kiosks.

It would be an understatement to call mofongo (click here to learn more about what mofongo is) a diet food, unless of course, you’re on a weight gain diet (which unintentially it seems I am a bit!).  It’s the connsumate comfort food, dense, savory, and bursting with fatty-starchy goodness from mashed, fried plantains, olive oil, garlic, pork fat.

The closest I can come to describing its texture and flavor would be a tamale with pork fat seasoning covered with a cross between a mild enchilada sauce and chicken soup broth and in my case, shrimp on the side.  Hmmm… that sounds kind of awful and mofongo is a heavenly dish! Maybe Sanford and Son character Lamont’s description, "a dish of some stuff that was terrific", is enough to convice you to try it yourself. 
Mofongo with camaronnes (shrimp) at a stand in Loquillo
Puerto Rico.  Prices were not posted, but it was between $12-18.

I washed my mofongo down with vivid organge-tangerine colored cranberry-passionfruit adult fruit shake.  Yum.

I’m not sure I want to learn how to make mofongo; it would be far too dangerous to my wardrobe as I just don’t want to buy the next size or two up.

Nevertheless, click here fora recipe.

Passoa, on the other hand, seems less dangerous, especially since I’m unlikely to find it unless I go back to Puerto Rico.  Pueblo sold it for $18 and I suspect I can find it for less elsewhere. It’s on my “next time” list to buy.
Passoa, a passion fruit liqueur was one of the ingredients
in an intensely fruity drink. 

The cafĂ© was however a reminder for us to avoid places that don’t post prices, or, asking before deciding it we do.  I suspect there were two sets of prices, the one locals pay, and the one we paid.  Ours was, I’m sure, higher.

Still, $27 or so isn’t too terrible for a beer, two mixed drinks and the best literal taste I’ll have of Puerto Rico for a long, long time.

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Arroyo, another classic Puerto Rican dish. Didn’t try it.
Too much great food, too little time!  
Refreshing with fruit flavors that nearly
explode in your mouth.  Believe it had
Passoa, cranberry juice and rum. A
spendy $6, but I couldn’t resist second