Plantain tastes very different from banana

Thanksgiving is one of the American holidays and as American citizens, Puerto Ricans have adopted some of the customs and traditions of this annual celebration.

Much of the Thanksgiving holiday is celebrated in Puerto Rico in the same way that it is in the States: most shops are closed, family members get together, there is a ridiculous amount of food, and people are up Go shopping after the "Black Friday" day.

However, the biggest difference in traditional American Thanksgiving and the kind that you will find famous on the island is the food. Combining classic American Thanksgiving tradition with flavors from Puerto Rican Latin American Heritage, you can expect spice-enhanced favorites like turkey, ham, and dressing even at a Puerto Rican Thanksgiving meal.

Starting the Puerto Rican Thanksgiving Festival

Unlike most of the continental United States, Puerto Rican Thanksgiving begins with a unique island appetizer served: traditional Latin plantains, a type of large banana.

Most Puerto Rican meals start with some type of plantain dish, but for special occasions, some Puerto Rican families make something called guineos en escabeche, or pickled bananas. Thrown with green bananas with sautéed onions, green olives, olive oil and vinegar combined with tasty herbs like oregano and bay leaf, this dish is also often served on birthdays.

No Puerto Rican celebration is complete without it tostones , another plantain-based starter common to Central America and the Caribbean that tastes completely different guineos en escabeche . For tostones, the bananas are sliced ​​then deep fried until crispy and golden. For added flavor, they can first be dipped in garlic water or served with garlic dip sauce.

The main course: turkey, mofongo and other sides

Thanksgiving is all about turkey, even in Puerto Rico, but turkey is cooked a little differently on the island. One procedure is known as pavochón, those that include a turkey or large chicken roast that have been seasoned with garlic, oregano, and adobo (a Spanish pepper mix).

Other times, the turkey stuffed with mofongo, often a plantain dish, is the most popular on the island. Mofongo made with fried and mashed green bananas, garlic porridge and crunchy pieces of fried pork called rinds chicharrón.

As with American Thanksgiving, the Puerto Rican meal is complete with a variety of specialty sides, including mofongo turkey filling, morcilla (Blood sausage) and Arroz con andules (Rice with Pea Pigeon), the Puerto Rican version of rice and beans. Other side dishes include alcapurrias (Fritters), coquito and Puerto Rican style potato salad.

Dessert and the aftermath of the feast

Instead of the traditional American pumpkin pie, Puerto Ricans usually end their Thanksgiving meal with off tembleque , a cinnamon-coated coconut flan. Another favorite is the pudding-like Dulce de Leche Made from caramelized milk that is sometimes flavored with pumpkin to add a traditional American twist to plates.

Puerto Ricans like to relax after a heavy festival and you will find many island residents on the beach in the early afternoon soaking up the sun. Families typically stay together for much of the evening, often Black Friday sales go together the next morning. Many families also take the opportunity to start decorating for Christmas by lighting them and their trees while everyone is gathered around for the holiday.

That's because Thanksgiving officially starts the Christmas season in Puerto Rico, a wonderful time of the year on the island. If you visit Puerto Rico in late November and early December, you can expect to see lights popping up in shops and homes as well as a variety of special holiday events happening during the month.

Was this page helpful?
Thank you for letting us know!