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What to Order at a Kiosk in Puerto Rico

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Kiosks; you'll find them everywhere in Puerto Rico, rustic stalls displaying all kinds of frituras, or fritters under heat lamps or behind a glass pane. The most famous ones are in Luquillo and Piñones, and both are destinations unto themselves. But you don't have to travel far to find one. 

Kioskos, or Kioskitos, as they are known here, are a much-frequented, time-honored, and integral part to a day at the beach and the culinary culture of the island. But those of you coming to Puerto Rico for the first time may not recognize much of what you'll find on a typical kiosko menu. Here's a helpful guide. 

Bacalaitos

Bacalaitos are codfish fritters, and are ubiquitous not only to Puerto Rico but throughout the Latin world. They're a staple food at many a kioskito, and are a delicious, crispy and salty treat. Betcha can't eat just one!

Cuchifrito

Cuchifrito is about as simple a dish as you can think of. Essentially, you slice off a chunk of pork ( like the ear, the stomach, or the tail), cover it in batter, and deep-fry until satisfied. Usually, people are. 

Surullitos

Something for the vegetarians! Surullitos are the cornmeal equivalent of mozzarella sticks, except that they're rather fatter and shorter. They're often made with cheese, and make for a hearty snack. 

Taco

Tacos in Puerto Rico and tacos in Mexico (and tacos at Taco Bell, for that matter), are very different foods. On the island, they are oblong flour tortillas stuffed with beef, chicken, crab, shrimp or other seafood, rolled into a kind of wrap and deep fried.

These are among the more popular items in a kiosk, and you'll often find them poking out of plastic tubs or leaning against the glass window of the stall.

Pionones

One of my favorites, pionones are mashed sweet plantain patties filled with picadillo, or seasoned ground beef, and cheese. Of course, in true kiosko fashion, the whole thing is served deep-fried.

Arepas

Arepas, like some of the other items on this list, are found all over Latin America but vary depending on where they're made. On the island, they're fried fritters of cornmeal and mashed yuca root, filled with the usual assortment of fillings (beef, chicken shrimp, cheese, and other combinations).

Arañitas

Arañitas get their name from their shape, a play on araña, or spider. But there are no arachnids on the menu here; these shredded green plantain fritters come out sizzling and sprouting multiple "legs." They can give your jaws a workout, but they're quite tasty. 

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