PUERTO RICAN SPICES
Puerto Rico has a long history that has richly influenced the food here. Spanish and European influences, Latin American spices, Taino Indians and American culture have all helped to create a blend of flavor that you will undoubtedly enjoy.
TAINO CULINARY INFLUENCES
If you visit a Puerto Rican grocery store you will undoubtedly notice more root vegetables and potato looking foods. These roots are an influence of the Taino Indians who first inhabited Puerto Rico. One of the most common influences of the Taino is the consumption of the Yuca or cassava root. This dish is served similarly to how potatoes are eaten. Get the garlic sauce!
SPANISH CULINARY INFLUENCES
One of the more noticeable influences from Spanish culture is the use of olives or capers in meals. Most often the olives are cooked with the beans mixture that is to combined with rice and people are often puzzled by this ingredient since olives do not grow in the warm Puerto Rican climate. This tradition has carried over since the days of Spanish rule.
AFRICAN CULINARY INFLUENCES
Coconuts were not a commonly used food until the introduction of African influences in Puerto Rico.
AMERICAN CULINARY INFLUENCES
Turkey, or Pavo in Spanish, has become a more common dish in Puerto Rico since the Treaty of 1916. Whether it's for Thanksgiving or as a replacement to pork on the lechon grill, turkey can often be found on menus and it a lighter alternative to some of the fattier options.
LATIN AMERICAN CULINARY INFLUENCES
Other foods native to Latin America were brought to the island with the Spanish trade, such as cocoa, avocado, tomatoes, chayote, papaya, bell peppers and vanilla fromMexico and Central America. Potatoes and passion fruit were also brought over by the Spanish or Portuguese from Peru and Brazil.