| The history and development of Puerto Rican cuisine begins with the Taíno Indians, the natives Columbus found at discovery. Some Taíno foods still used today include yuca, peppers, and corn. Taínos invented the barbacoa and used a pilón to mash their ingredients and paints. The Spaniards brought a variety of new ingredients including, olives, garlic, bacalao, and cilantro. The various culinary specialties of the Iberian peninsula also had an important role in the development of the Puerto Rican food.
Other foods native to Latino America were brought to the island with the Spanish trade, such as cocoa from Mexico.
African slaves influenced the Puerto Rican kitchen greatly introducing the use of plantains, coconuts, and their favorite method of cooking, frying.
These plus early Dutch, French, Italian, and Chinese immigrants influenced not only our culture but our cooking as well. This great variety of traditions came together to form La Cocina Criolla.
Today the Puerto Rican kitchen has been influenced by American foods. You can find McDonald’s everywhere and anywhere on the island along with pizza shops and many other fast food places. Chain restaurants have brought many different dishes into the island as well. Working women take advantage of the many prepared foods available on the market.