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Puerto Rican Tacos

Puerto Rican Tacos

It might have tasted like a regular soft taco, but the ingredients came with stories behind them. That, more than how ripe the avocado was, makes the flavor.

Puerto Rican Soft Taco Appetizers

  • Small size flour tortillas, heated up in oven on top of actual dinner (lime chicken)
  • Green bell peppers, or maybe they were spicy peppers, not sure
  • Marinated pork from huge Christmas party at mother of friend’s husband’s house in Bayamón (south of San Juan)
  • Rice and just a few beans from same party (we took home some leftovers, maybe 8 pounds … )
  • Expensive iceberg lettuce
  • Chopped yellow onions
  • Avocados from side of highway 129 returning from San Sebastián
  • Pique (pee-kay) from same side of road stop: looks like milky water with red peppers. Great taste and good heat.

OK, OK, you get it: ingredients from far-away places and someone’s mother’s house is better than buying it all at Wal-Mart. But what am I really getting at?

Be open to culinary experimentation.

Our friend’s husband, the local, recommended some hot sauce that sounded, well, interesting. But we bought it. He also helped us choose which avocados to get on the side of the road (and helped us not overpay). We brought home pork and rice from his mother’s Christmas party (where she invited all 10 of us–total strangers) into her home for the entire afternoon.

No, the store didn’t have La Victoria (my favorite green taco sauce), I didn’t have fire on the stove to warm up the tortillas, no ground beef or chicken, no tomatoes (worth buying). But that’s a good thing. It was different, it wasn’t what we were used to. If it was, why would we bother to travel? Or why bother eating something new? It’s not even THAT new, it’s a variation on what we know. Is that enough? Sure.

So do these ingredients add up to a perfect soft taco? Yes. Do you need to be in Puerto Rico and drive two hours to San Sebastián and find that same vendor on the side of the road? Yes, if you want to recreate our adventure. Do you need–or even want to–recreate our adventure? No. Create your own. Will your family mind, whine, and wonder where their normal food is? Yes. Do you care? Yes and no. Yes so they realize this is what change looks like. No because that’s what’s for dinner tonight.

There’s one of my 2013 goals: open up culinary exploration for my kids–and you.

Pork & rice from friend's mother's party, avocado from side of the highway.

Pork & rice from friend’s mother’s party, avocado from side of the highway.

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