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If you really want to get a taste of the island, experience Puerto Rican cuisine. The places that are overrun by tourists are usually good restaurants, but it’s where the locals go that you’ll find real Puerto Rican flavor. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s picks for the five best Puerto Rico food experiences:
1. Traditional fare at La Casita Blanca. This tiny white house is a San Juan institution, known for its good food, homey atmosphere and mounds of tradition. Located in the Santurce neighborhood, La Casita Blanca serves up authentic Puerto Rican food like bacalao (salt codfish with yucca) and carne guisada (beef stew). It’s nothing fancy (the menu is written on a dry-erase board) but it’s definitely worth the visit.
2. Luquillo kiosks. More than 60 beachfront kiosks line the shore just outside the town of Luquillo — and they’re home to some top-notch street food. Each stand has its own menu, ranging from fresh seafood to traditional Puerto Rican fried food like alcapurrias and bacalaitos.
3. Breakfast at Caficultura. Head to Old San Juan's Plaza Colón for a weekend breakfast. Caficultura is known to serve up some of the best coffee in town, pairing perfectly with the delightfully sweet breakfast offerings — ranging from coffee pancakes to coconut French toast. The mallorcas are definitely a must-eat as well.
4. Authentic dishes at El Jibarito. Another Old San Juan joint, El Jibarito is great for authentic Puerto Rican cuisine. There’s a good mix of locals and tourists, which is always a good sign. From alcapurrias to mofongos, you’ll get a good taste of the local fare.
5. Jam Rum Bar & Bistro Moderne. As Puerto Rico is known for its rum — Bacardi and Don Q to be precise — Jam Rum Bar & Bistro Moderne is the place to taste it. Offering more than 50 rums from Puerto Rico and other places in the world, Jam also serves Caribbean-fusion cuisine.