Your guide to the food and culture of the tropics


The Best Food Trucks in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is renowned as a fantastic foodie destination, with street food attracting the most acclaim. Amazing food trucks seem to have completely taken over every corner of the island. What makes food trucks in Puerto Rico so insanely delicious is that they take authentic Latino recipes, add a signature sauce or special ingredient, and serve it to you in a North American-style serving size. You can always trust a Tico Tripleta three-meat sandwich to be big enough to feed a small tribe, for example.

Tico Tripleta (Photo from Facebook -- Kelvin Choi)

Tico Tripleta (Photo from Facebook — Kelvin Choi)

Tico Tripleta at Plazoleta del Puerto, San Juan

Just a block back from San Juan’s port you’ll find a whole strip of food carts, grilling and frying up a storm. Here is where you’ll find Tico Tripleta, the homonymous food truck that serves up the best Tico Tripleta sandwiches in the country. A carnivorous trifecta of chicken, beef and ham, the tripleta is a meat lover’s dream come true. Each meat is marinated in herbs and spices and grilled to perfection. Then the generous bun is slathered with lashings of mustard, mayo and ketchup to complete this giant. Exceptionally tasty and very filling, a Tico Tripleta would have to rate as one of the world’s best sandwiches and, in its native Puerto Rico, is considered a national dish and object of much patriotic pride.

Pinchos at Guaynabo

If the Tico Tripleta is the Puerto Rican version of the world-famous Cuban meat sandwich, then pinchos are their equivalent of Arabic shish-kebabs – only better. Skewers of meat or seafood are marinated and grilled over open coals. The pinchos are then served, for just a couple of dollars, with a chunk of crusty bread. When the meat quality is high – which in Tico speak means high fat for high flavor – and the marinade this delicious, you’ll need little else. Sometimes, a particularly health-conscious food stand owner will add a piece of bell pepper or onion to the skewer. Pinchos are grilled and sold all over the country – it’s easy to find this treat on nearly every street corner like Starbucks in other parts of the world. The best pinchos food truck in Puerto Rico? The one with the longest queue, of course!

Pinchos (Photo from Facebook -- Willy's Pinchos)

Pinchos (Photo from Facebook — Willy’s Pinchos)

Willy’s Pinchos is more of a street food stand rather than a truck (a wheel-less food truck, perhaps?) and attracts diners from all corners of the country. Local, crazy cheap, and incredibly popular, the chicken, pork or mixed meat pinchos here are to die for. The place is casual, brimming with friendly locals and also serves cold beer. What more could one ask for?

Everything at El Naqui, Guaynabo

El Naqui Food Truck is one of those Puerto Rican institutions one would follow to the moon and back. A masterful chef-of-all-trades,  El Naqui serves up quite a few local street food specialties, one more drool worthy than the next. Their biggest seller is the Naqui burger, which comes with chicken, pork or beef and is – surprisingly – small enough to savor two in one sitting if you’re a hearty eater. Topped with shoestring fries and a most delicious burger sauce, the meat at Naqui is marinated, grilled and shredded. The pork ribs with garlic aioli fries would make for a fabulous second course and, if you have room for dessert (make sure you do), then just fill it in with the rotating daily special. Whatever it is, you can rest assured it’s scrumptious and super filling.

El Naqui Burger (Photo from Yelp)

El Naqui Burger (Photo from Yelp)

Seafood galore at Luquillo Kioskos, Mata de Platano, Luquillo

When the best food on your trip came served in a plastic cup, you know you’re on to a winner. Grilled lime and garlic marinated octopus, tender lobster tacos, and plantains stuffed with seafood are the main drawcards of the chain of stalls and food trucks at Luquillo Kioskos on Mata de Platano. Complemented by frozen cocktails and crispy cold beers, the selection of food here is mind-blowing. So much so, that the biggest challenge will not be deciding what to try first, and which food truck to accost, but visiting only once. The location of this food truck mecca is perfect, with a gorgeous beach just meters away. Add to that a vibrant vibe and mass of friendly locals and you’ve got yourself one of Puerto Rico’s very best foodie hubs.

Luquillo Kiosks (Photo from Yelp)

Luquillo Kiosks (Photo from Yelp)

Written by

Laura Pattara is a modern nomad who’s been vagabonding around the world, non-stop, for the past 11 years. She’s tour guided overland trips through South America and Africa, travelled independently through the Middle East and is now, along with her partner in love and travel, riding a motorbike from Germany to Australia. Laura moonlights as a freelance travel writer and, between adventures, loves sharing her travel ramblings on her personal website:Laura's Travel Tales